The Minnesota Twins have placed center fielder Danny Santana on the 15-day disabled list after he suffered a left hamstring strain during Monday’s game. To replace his vacated spot on the active roster, the Twins have recalled outfielder Byron Buxton.
Santana felt his hamstring tighten up in the fifth inning of the Twins’ 3-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Monday afternoon while running from first to third on a base hit by Eduardo Nunez. Santana remained in the contest at first, but he was lifted in the seventh inning.
This is the second time the Twins have placed Santana on the disabled list this season. The 25-year-old injured his right hamstring early in the season and remained on the shelf until April 25. Santana found playing time in center field in wake of Buxton’s poor start to the season.
Buxton, MLB.com’s top overall prospect for the 2015 season, was demoted to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings in late April to make room for Santana, who was returning to the Twins’ active roster. In 45 at-bats in April, Buxton batted .156 with 24 strikeouts and a mere two RBIs.
After a down 2015 campaign in which he batted just .215 in 91 games, Santana appeared to have turned things around so far this year. The mediocre batting average came after his breakout campaign as a rookie in 2014, when Santana boasted a .319 batting mark with seven home runs across 101 games.
Buxton played in 28 games after being sent to Triple-A and looked much more comfortable while batting. In 116 at-bats, Buxton drove in fourteen runs for the Red Wings and recorded 39 hits, including nine doubles, two triples, and six homers. Buxton was whiffed 26 times, only two more times than he did in 70 fewer at-bats in the majors.
Buxton has not yet lived up to the hype surrounding him, but the Twins are very optimistic that he can begin to change that. With the center-field duties virtually all to himself and the refining work he did in Triple-A, perhaps now is the time that Buxton can begin to shine at the major-league level.