Twins’ prospect Buxton likely to sit rest of minor league season

The Twins are taking the cautious approach with prospect Byron Buxton, following the prized prospect's concussion in a Double-A minor-league game last week.

Mark J. Rebilas

MINNEAPOLIS — Twins general manager Terry Ryan hasn’t watched the video. He doesn’t need to.

Ryan saw the New Britain Rock Cats in person on Wednesday when Minnesota’s top prospect, Byron Buxton, collided with fellow outfielder Mike Kvasnicka. The scary collision knocked Buxton unconscious and he was later taken to the hospital.

The Twins and Buxton felt fortunate that the 20-year-old outfielder suffered just a concussion and nothing more severe. At any rate, though, the collision effectively ended Buxton’s minor league season, Ryan said Monday.

"I would doubt it," Ryan said when asked if he thought Buxton might return before the end of the season. "They’re on the road for 11 days. He’s going to be in Florida. We still have to go through the protocol of getting him cleared. I’m not sure we’re going to mess with it."

Buxton flew to Florida on Sunday morning and could partake in the team’s instructional league at some point. He’s still suffering from concussion-like symptoms, including stiffness in his upper body and headaches, Ryan said, but Buxton wasn’t experiencing sensitivity to light.

"He took the bigger brunt of this collision," Ryan said. "It wasn’t good, but I think we’re all fortunate it ended up the way it did end up. It was a tough thing. We’ve seen collisions in our day in this game, but that one ranked right up there."

Last week’s concussion was the latest in what proved to be an injury-plagued season for Buxton — regarded by many as the top prospect in baseball — as he played in just 31 games. A wrist injury delayed the start to his 2014 season, and he began the year with High-A Fort Myers when he did return. If he hadn’t injured his wrist before the end of spring training, Buxton likely would have opened the season with Double-A New Britain.

Last Wednesday marked Buxton’s first game with New Britain after a promotion from Fort Myers. Ryan said Buxton looked sharp defensively in his first Double-A game, but he was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts at the plate.

While Buxton’s minor league season is likely done — New Britain’s last regular-season game is Sept. 1 — he could play in the Arizona Fall League, which starts Oct. 7.

"Only if he’s ready," Ryan said. "I don’t want to get premature on if he’s going to recover and how he’s going to feel two weeks from now. I think the first thing’s first. We have to go through the requirements of Major League Baseball for concussion symptoms. . . . It makes some sense that (the Arizona Fall League) might be a good progression."

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