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Twins manager Rocco Baldelli: Byron Buxton’s hand fracture ‘not fair’

Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton suffered a “boxer’s fracture” — a fracture at the base of the fifth metacarpal in his left hand — during Monday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds.

Given the dynamic player’s injury-riddled MLB career, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli characterized Buxton’s latest injury amid a seemingly never-ending series of such setbacks as “not fair.”

“We can’t talk about fairness,” Baldelli added in his postgame comments following the Twins’ 7-5 win in extra innings, via MLB.com. “It’s not. This isn’t fair. That’s how I feel about the whole thing, and I’ll be thinking about him often in the near future, because this is going to be tough to bear.”

Buxton was struck in the left hand by a 93.7 mph fastball from Reds right-hander Tyler Mahle during the fourth inning. After initially remaining in the game, Buxton was ultimately pulled ahead of the sixth inning. Subsequent tests and evaluation revealed the extent of the injury.

Buxton’s fractured hand comes just three days after coming off the injured list after missing 40 games due to a hip flexor strain. The outfielder was raking at the plate, too, in his brief return, collecting four hits in 11 at-bats — including a double and a home run — in his first action since May 6. 

Baldelli could not hide his disappointment over the injury and sympathy for Buxton in his postgame comments.

“He is so tough, and he’s willing to literally play with just about anything,” Baldelli said. “He would have to not be able to walk for him to come out and say, ‘I can’t play.’ The words never come out of his mouth. You would have to literally remove him from the field to get him off the field. That’s just who he is as a guy and as a competitor.

“He was in immense pain on the field after getting hit by that pitch, and I think anyone, including him, had to know if you’re feeling something like that, it might not be a good situation. He doesn’t react to pain. He just goes out there and keeps playing.”

The anticipated length of Buxton’s absence from the Twins’ lineup is pegged at at least one month if not longer, according to initial estimates. Buxton has slashed at a .369/.409/.767 clip with 10 homers in 110 plate appearances this season.