Buxton: Making home debut 'very special'

Buxton: Making home debut 'very special'

MINNEAPOLIS -- After starting his career with three road games, Byron Buxton made his highly anticipated home debut with the Twins in the 3-1 win over the Cardinals on Wednesday night.

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It marked Buxton's first time on the field at Target Field since a workout there after he was drafted as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 Draft. Buxton, ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect by MLBPipeline.com, served the club's No. 9 hitter for a fourth straight day and started in center field.

He went 0-for-3 at the plate with a pair of strikeouts, but made a nice running catch near the wall in right-center field to rob Matt Carpenter of an extra-base hit in the third inning.

Twins manager Paul Molitor said he believes Buxton will start making adjustments after starting his career by going 2-for-13.

"I think he's very good at taking good things and bad things from at-bats, regardless of outcomes," Molitor said. "We're just going to continue, as he plays here, to make sure he has no fear of being aggressive. It looks like he's tracking pitches early in the count that maybe he could take a whack at. He's going to have to battle with two strikes, but that's usually one of the last things to come."

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Buxton received a large ovation from the crowd of 34,481 at Target Field before his first at-bat, and said before the game he was looking forward to his home debut.

"It's very special," Buxton said before the game. "Especially not having not been on the field here since 2012. This was a dream I wanted, to play center field for the Twins someday, and it happened today."

Buxton said he was excited to play in front of the home crowd, but that opening his career on the road helped him get the jitters out of the way.

"Playing in different environments helps you out before you get back home, especially starting off," Buxton said. "I feel like if I would've started off at home, I would've been nervous. I wouldn't have wanted to let people down. But starting out on the road, it was just playing and trying to help the team win."

Buxton, who had his contract purchased from Double-A Chattanooga before Sunday's game in Texas, said the biggest differences have been the speed of the game and the quality of the breaking pitches he's seen.

"I did my best to try to slow things down as much as I could, but the first few days were a little hectic," Buxton said. "So I'm just trying to slow it down day by day, and that's with the help of my teammates and coaches."

Buxton added that he plans on keeping his No. 25 jersey as his permanent number after wearing No. 7 -- Joe Mauer's number -- in the Minors. And he also said he wants to make his time in the Majors permanent as well.

"I look at this as a start," Buxton said. "I'm not up here to try to get sent back down. I'm up here to try to help us win any way I can. Trying to score runs and help us win, that's what I'm going to do."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.