The Twins have placed outfielder Byron Buxton and righty Michael Pineda on the 10-Day IL, the team reports. Buxton’s injury, the third that’s forced him to the IL this season, is a left shoulder subluxation, which is potentially serious and will likely sideline the former number two overall pick for at least a few weeks (per MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park). Pineda strained his right triceps; the timetable for his return isn’t yet known, but the absence isn’t believed to be a lengthy one. 1B/DH C.J. Cron, reinstated from the IL, and outfielder Jake Cave were activated in their places.
It’s the latest in a series of early-career injuries for Buxton, who’d hoped to both shake the injury-prone label and deliver a productive season after a lost 2018 campaign. He’s at least cashed in on the latter, pairing a solid 110 wRC+ with his typically sensational center-field defense to post 2.6 fWAR in just 82 games for the division-leading Twins this season. The 25-year-old’s sliced his K rate to an easily-career-low 23.1% and made hard contact over 35% of the time, a near-eight percent jump from his previous career best of 27.6% in 2017. In his absence, the Twins’ll likely shift breakout star Max Kepler, 11th in MLB fWAR thus far, back to center, where he’s acquitted himself about as well as could be hoped over his young career, and have super-utilityman Marwin Gonzalez assume right-field duties.
Pineda, now 30 and no stranger himself to the DL/IL, has turned in yet another productive season for Minnesota, with identical 4.15 ERA/FIPs that, when adjusting for the suddenly-diminutive confines of Target Field, have been good for 2.0 fWAR in just 17 starts. The towering righty’s fastball velocity is down a bit this season, but still checks in at a respectable 92.6 MPH in this, the final year of a two-year, $10MM deal signed prior to the 2018 season. It’s unclear who’ll replace Pineda in the rotation – the team just sent down lefty Lewis Thorpe, and has needed only five starts from hurlers beyond the Opening-Day quintet of Pineda, Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, and Martin Perez.