Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images
The Minnesota Twins announced that outfielder Byron Buxton will undergo season-ending arthroscopic knee surgery, per Dan Hayes of The Athletic.
Buxton had 28 home runs, 51 RBI and an .833 OPS in 92 games this season. He made the All-Star team for the first time in his eight-year MLB career.
Per Twins’ team sources to Hayes, the surgery is considered “a cleanup,” and he should be ready for spring training.
Buxton has been out of the Twins’ lineup since Aug. 22. He landed on the injured list one day later with a right hip strain. The combination of the hip and knee issues ultimately kept him out for nearly half the season.
Buxton has largely been tremendous since 2019, sporting a 162-game average of 41 home runs, 91 RBI, 40 doubles and 103 runs. He’s also posted a .874 OPS during that span.
Unfortunately, numerous injuries have kept him off the field for 267 of a possible 534 games from the beginning of the 2019 season until the Twins’ announcement.
Buxton got off to the hottest start in baseball last year thanks to a .427 batting average with eight home runs and 14 RBI in April. However, hamstring and hip injuries in addition to a fractured hand suffered on a hit by pitch ultimately led to him missing 101 games.
The Twins signed Buxton to a seven-year, $100 million extension after the season, and that faith was rewarded with a tremendous power surge this year.
Unfortunately, Buxton will ultimately end up missing 70 games in a year that start promising for the Twins before tailspinning out of control.
Minnesota started hot with a 27-16 record and a 5.5-game lead following a six-game winning streak, but the Twins are now 73-77 and sitting 10 games behind the Cleveland Guardians for the American League Central crown. They are 6-16 in their last 22 games.
As Hayes noted, the Twins were hoping Buxton would be back by now if the team was in a playoff race. However, those hopes have all but dissipated, and the Twins appear to be playing out the string at this point.
A healthy Buxton would go a long way toward the Twins bouncing back in 2023. For now, Minnesota has 12 regular-season games left starting with a three-game home series against the Los Angeles Angels.