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Anaheim looking more likely for Byron Buxton's return

Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton (25) congratulates first baseman Joe Mauer (7) after his 2000th career hit in the seventh inning against Chicago White Sox at Target Field. Brad Rempel / USA TODAY Sports

ST. LOUIS—Byron Buxton spent close to an hour on the field during early work Monday afternoon, May 7, shagging flies and testing his fractured left big toe with straight-ahead sprints at 75- to 80-percent intensity as well as lateral slides, backpedals and cuts.

Working under the watchful gaze of head athletic trainer Tony Leo and assistant trainer Masa Abe, Buxton came away encouraged that he could rejoin the Twins without a minor-league rehab assignment. Twins manager Paul Molitor, who also watched the workout, said the plan is for Buxton to run the bases on Tuesday morning for the first time since fouling a ball off his foot in a Class A game on April 22, then fly west with the team to Anaheim, Calif.

Asked if he's ready to come off the disabled list, the center fielder nodded.

"For the most part, yeah," he said. "just want to get out there and play and help us out as much as I can. I'll tolerate as much as I can. I know my limits. I know when to back it off a little bit."

Buxton, who last faced major league pitching on April 12 before a bout of migraines sidelined him for four days, has been taking batting practice on the field the past few days as well as tracking pitches in the bullpen since last week.

"I try to get out there every day just to see sink or see spin," he said. "I know they're not the same but it's still good to see pitches and see (velocity). That's helpful enough. I feel like I'm ready to go."

National platform

Buxton was one of a half dozen players participating in Major League Baseball's Shred Hate program that debuted during Monday's ESPN telecast of the Twins-Cardinals game.

Joining Buxton in the bullying prevention program are Tim Anderson (White Sox), Cole Hamels (Rangers), Trea Turner (Nationals), Justin Upton (Angels) and George Springer (Astros). X Games athletes Gus Kenworthy and Jordyn Barratt are part of the program that began last year with their sport and ESPN.

"It's something I feel strongly shouldn't be a part of the world," Buxton said. "You should be treated the way you want to be treated, and that's with respect. It was just about getting it out there and letting those people know we have their back and are there for them."

Buxton said he has tried to pass those lessons along to his 4-year-old son, Brix, and credited his parents with teaching him to respect others.

"You could pass that along to one person and one person leads to 100, and it goes from there," Buxton said.

The Twins will host students as part of the Shred Hate program on May 22 at Target Field before a game against the Detroit Tigers.

Vouching for Lance

One of the people recommending former St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn to the Twins this offseason was Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa, for whom Lynn pitched as a rookie on a World Series winner in 2011.

"Had a nice talk with Tony La Russa about him," Molitor said. "He told me he was one of his favorite guys in terms of teammate, workhorse, (taking) the baseball for you. Things you want to have."

Molitor said he saw La Russa, now a senior adviser for the Boston Red Sox, in Fort Myers during spring training.

"He came in and said hi to me and we talked about Lance," Molitor said.


Miguel Sano (strained hamstring) isn't expected to come off the disabled list for another week at least. "I don't think we'll see him in Anaheim," Molitor said.

Right-hander Trevor May (elbow surgery) made his last start in extended spring training, tossing three innings on close to 50 pitches. His next start will be for Class A Fort Myers.

Left-hander Dietrich Enns cleared outright waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Rochester after being taken off the 40-man roster. Enns, acquired last summer from the New York Yankees for lefty Jaime Garcia, was 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in four starts for Triple-A Rochester.

Triple-A lefty Stephen Gonsalves was named International League Pitcher of the Week after posting a 0.63 ERA and .087 batting average allowed in his first two 2018 starts for the Red Wings.

Former Twins minor-league catcher Dan Rohlfing attended Monday's game with his family. He's back home in St. Louis, finishing up his degree and working in real estate. The Twins discussed an amateur scouting position with him but he decided he wasn't ready for that after helping Double-A Chattanooga win a Southern League title in 2017.