Buxton returns, records fastest triple in 2017

Twins outfielder isn't slowed by hand injury in rout of Royals

Buxton returns, records fastest triple in 2017

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins center fielder Byron Buxton's bruised left hand appears to be just fine, as he went 3-for-5 with an RBI triple in a 17-0 win over the Royals on Saturday night. And with his incredible speed, it helped him record the fastest time to third on a triple this season, according to Statcast™.

Buxton, making his return after being held out of the starting lineup for two games with what was initially believed to be a hamate bone injury, laced an RBI triple to right-center field as part of a four-run first inning. Buxton reached third in 10.52 seconds, which is the fastest time to third tracked by Statcast™ this season and the second-fastest since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015.

The only faster time was Billy Hamilton's 10.45 seconds on Aug. 13, 2006. Buxton's previous best was 10.56 seconds on Aug. 19. He reached 30.9 feet per second, which is much higher than the MLB average of 27 feet per second.

"I just wanted to get something to the right side," Buxton said of his triple off Royals lefty Onelki Garcia. "I put a good swing on the ball and he left it over the plate a little bit, and it turned into a triple."

Buxton's RBI infield single

Buxton said his hand never bothered him during the game, and wasn't something he thought about while playing. Twins manager Paul Molitor was relieved to see Buxton play all nine innings in the blowout victory. Buxton added an RBI single in the second before grounding out in both the third and fourth innings. He finished up with a single in the seventh.

"I kept checking in with him throughout the game," Molitor said. "It was one of those nights where he's kind of learning a little bit about what he can do, and what causes discomfort and what doesn't. I know it's not 100 percent, like we talked about before. But he feels good, he's excited to be playing and he wants to be a part of it. I'm pretty sure he will be back in there tomorrow."

Buxton on his three hit game

Buxton is coming off an August that saw him hit .324/.354/.619 with eight homers, eight stolen bases and 22 RBIs, and the contending Twins are happy to see him healthy and ready to contribute down the stretch.

"That was kind of a shot in the arm for us, finding out that it was a minor injury," right-hander Kyle Gibson said. "Having [Miguel Sano] go down and possibly [Buxton] going down would have been a tough week. Thankfully he's back and hopefully he can stay healthy. And thankfully, the last three days didn't take the heat out of his bat. If he keeps doing that, we are going to be all right."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.