Twins still planning on Buxton playing again this year despite latest knee problem

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins are still planning on the oft-injured Byron Buxton playing again this season despite persistent knee problems, head athletic trainer Nick Paparesta said Wednesday.

Buxton received a cortisone injection Sunday in his troublesome right knee to treat a new bout of inflammation and irritation just below his kneecap that halted the Triple-A rehab assignment he was on to ramp up from a strained right hamstring. The Twins have been trying to reintegrate him to center field duty, after limiting him to designated hitter all season.

Paparesta said this latest issue “came on out of nowhere” and that an MRI exam showed improvement with both Buxton’s chronic patellar tendinitis and from the cartilage cleanup surgery he had last year.

Buxton’s current discomfort comes primarily from bending and rotating on his back knee while batting. Though there are only 16 games left for the Twins in the regular season, and fewer for their minor league affiliates, Paparesta said there’s still time for Buxton to play in enough rehab games and be ready again for major league action.

“We’re going to make it happen,” Paparesta said.

Buxton has missed 38 games and counting with his latest injury list stint. He missed 10 games earlier with a bruised rib. Buxton has played in more than 100 games only once in nine major league seasons.