Buxton rejoins Twins after hot stint in Minors

Buxton rejoins Twins after hot stint in Minors

OAKLAND -- This time, the Twins hope Byron Buxton will be in the Majors for good.

Buxton, who entered the season as MLBPipeline.com's No. 2 overall prospect, rejoined the Twins on Tuesday, starting in center field and batting ninth against the A's after Danny Santana went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. Buxton, 22, hit .336/.403/.603 with six homers, nine doubles, two triples and four stolen bases in 29 games with Triple-A Rochester after being optioned on April 25.

Buxton went 1-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts in his first game with the Twins since April 24. Minnesota fell short in Oakland, 7-4.

"We felt like of our options there, he was the most prepared," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "Ideally, we would've loved him to keep it going and build on this, but at the same time he's playing well and it's not like we're just bringing him in because we need a body."

Buxton's great diving catch

Buxton showed a marked improvement from his struggles with the Twins early in the season, when he hit .156/.208/.289 with 24 strikeouts in 49 plate appearances. Buxton said he took the late April demotion to the Minors in stride and that his impressive numbers there helped him regain his confidence.

"I think I was able to slow it down a little bit better than I did up here," Buxton said. "Not chasing as many pitches out of the zone. I've been aggressive to the fastball and swinging at better pitches."

Buxton cut down on his strikeouts at Rochester, with 26 in 129 plate appearances, which pleased Molitor, who wanted him to increase his contact rate to take more advantage of his speed.

"It's a different game down there, but he did what we asked him to and put the ball in play more consistently," Molitor said. "I think the ratio was more like 5-to-1 or 4-to-1 rather than 2-to-1 up here."

Buxton also tweaked his mechanics at Rochester, ditching his toe tap for a more pronounced leg kick. Buxton downplayed the change as the reason for his success, instead attributing it to better plate discipline. But Molitor said he noticed a difference from watching video of Buxton in the Minors compared to what he was doing with the Twins.

"There's been tweaking to his swing in terms of a variation of how he gets set, picking up his foot a little bit more to increase his balance," Molitor said. "It gives him time to recognize pitches and drive the ball, which he's done."

Worth noting

• Closer Glen Perkins, on the 15-day DL retroactive to April 11 with a strained left shoulder, is set to throw off a mound for the first time on Saturday, Antony said. He was scheduled to throw a bullpen session on May 23, but saw it pushed back after suffering a setback. Perkins is expected to throw a few bullpen sessions before starting a rehab assignment. He's not eligible to return until June 10 after being placed on the 60-day DL on Wednesday.

• Right-hander Alex Meyer, who has been dealing with a right shoulder strain since being optioned May 4, had an MRI exam that revealed inflammation in his shoulder, according to Antony. Meyer will receive a cortisone shot in his shoulder, and there's no timetable for his return.

• Top pitching prospect Kohl Stewart was promoted to Double-A Chattanooga on Tuesday. Stewart, ranked as the club's No. 7 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, had a 2.61 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings with Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Right-hander Randy LeBlanc, who had a 0.74 ERA in 61 innings at Class A Cedar Rapids, was promoted to Fort Myers.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. 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.