February 26, 2019

Is it too early to declare that Byron Buxton is back and better than ever?

What will it take to convince you that Twins center fielder Byron Buxton has turned a new leaf?

If he hits .300? If he chases down fly balls with record speed? Or if he goes 5-for-5 with two home runs and drives in 10 runs in early exhibition play?

If that last sentence meets your standard, you’re in luck because that’s exactly what Buxton has delivered. He drove in five runs in his spring training debut, then did it again Monday versus the Baltimore Orioles. He had three hits, including a double and home run, and knocked in five more to beat the O’s 7-1.

“I don’t care if these are Spring Training games or what kind of games they are,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told MLB.com on Monday. “He looks like he’s having fun from the time he comes in the dugout pregame until we slap him five and he goes back in. He’s obviously swung the bat really well, and I think it’s a nice way to start the spring for him. He looks great.”

Buxton had a breakout season in 2017 and struggled in 2018, both at the plate and with injuries.

Extra innings…

-Buxton isn’t the only Twin off to a quick start this spring. Max Kepler homered twice on Sunday in a loss to the Boston Red Sox and Eddie Rosario hit two doubles on Monday. Pitcher Jose Berrios picked up the win.

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.