If not for bad luck, Byron Buxton might have no luck at all.
The former No. 1 prospect and current Minnesota Twins center fielder has seen his promising career sidetracked by untimely and unlucky injuries multiple times since being selected No. 2 overall in the 2012 draft. That unfortunate trend has continued in 2018, and somehow it seems his already terrible luck is actually getting worse.
Buxton had already landed on the disabled list after being diagnosed with a severe migraine headache during the Twins trip to Puerto Rico to play the Indians. It was expected he would be activated earlier this week. However, Buxton managed to foul a ball off his foot during a rehab game last weekend.
All week long, Buxton remained sidelined as the Twins attempted to treat the injury.
Byron Buxton hit off a tee today but didn’t feel good enough to play in extended Spring Training. They had to drill into his left big toe to relieve pressure after he fouled a ball off it.
— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) April 25, 2018
Then came word on Saturday that Buxton actually suffered a hairline fracture.
More tough news for the already reeling #MNTwins. Byron Buxton suffered a hairline fracture in his left big toe after he fouled a ball off it Sunday. They’ll know more about his ETA over the next five days or so, Molitor said.
— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) April 28, 2018
So you can definitely cross off an April return. An early May return might be tough now too.
It’s bad news for the Twins. While some fans might be frustrated with Buxton’s perceived lack of durability, he’s still an important part of the puzzle. He’s coming off a breakout season in 2017 that saw him win a Gold Glove in center field and even earn a spot on some MVP ballots.
The key, of course, is that Buxton was mostly healthy, playing in a career-high 140 games. Prior to last season, Buxton had only topped 125 games once in five seasons between the majors and minors.
His list of injuries includes wrist issues and a concussion stemming from a violent collision with Double-A teammate Mike Kvasnicka during the 2014 season. In 2015, he missed over a month after spraining his thumb on a head-first slide. In 2016, he bruised the same knee twice on outfield wall collisions.
That’s not a promising injury history for a 24-year-old outfielder, but the Twins can’t put him in bubble wrap either. Buxton plays hard, and is willing to sacrifice himself to help the team. Bumps and bruises are going to come with that style of play. But it’s the injuries like the one he’s dealing with now, that make you wonder if he’s a bit snakebit too.
Time will tell, but here’s hoping Byron Buxton is able to put these injuries behind him and show us the skills that made him baseball’s No. 1 prospect from the summer of 2013 until the spring of 2015.
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