The Minnesota Twins optioned center fielder Byron Buxton to Triple-A Rochester on Monday, keeping the top prospect in upstate New York after he had succesfully completed a three-game rehab assignment for a sprained left thumb.
The surprising transaction has raised questions about the Twins' intentions with Buxton. The move stops his major league service-time clock toward his eligibility for salary arbitration and free agency while also burning one of his three minor league option years. Does Buxton simply need the extra time in Triple-A, or are the Twins using the rules to their advantage as the Chicago Cubs did with Kris Bryant?
The Twins could argue Buxton needs more time in Triple-A. Buxton was 5-for-12 (.417) with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs in three rehab games in Rochester, but he hit only .189 in 11 games in the major leagues before the injury. As Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports' Hardball Talk noted, it's not the first time this season the Twins have optioned a starting outfielder to the minors when they appeared ready to come off the disabled list.
Derek Wetmore of 1500ESPN.com tried to make sense of Minnesota's intentions in his column. "It's too early to know if the Twins are being cheap and trying to delay an arbirtation raise for Buxton. We won't know that until September at the very earliest," writes Wetmore, who added that if Buxton dominates in the minors and is not called up again until mid-May next year, it would be fair to label the Twins as penny pinchers.
Here's a look at some of the other top rumors making their way around baseball today.
Justin Turner: The Los Angeles Dodgers expect to have third baseman Justin Turner (leg infection) back in the lineup in "a few days," manager Don Mattingly told reporters, including Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. Turner's return may complicate the infield situation. "Alberto Callaspo has been splitting playing time at third with Alex Guerrero while Turner's been out. If the Dodgers keep Peraza -- he also adds an element of speed they're missing -- they may have to make a tough call between Callaspo and Guerrero when Turner returns," Dilbeck writes.
David Wright: After playing in his first rehab game for Single-A St. Lucie, David Wright (back) told reporters he felt "pretty good." Wright went 1-for-3 with a walk and scored a run as the designated hitter Monday night. He plans to play five innings at third base on Tuesday, reports ESPN's Adam Rubin.
George Springer: An upcoming doctor's visit may offer a timetable for George Springer's wrist-strengthening activities, reports Evan Drellich of The Houston Chronicle. Springer suffered a non-displaced fracture in the wrist after he was hit by a pitch on July 1. Springer told reporters he's "hanging in there" and that the wrist "feels good."
Dansby Swanson: The first-overall pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in this year's MLB draft is expected to make his pro debut Wednesday with the Hillsboro Hops (rookie league), reports Zach Buchanan of The Arizona Republic. Swanson's minor league debut was delayed after he experienced concussion symptoms when taking a pitch to the face in a simulated game. Once Swanson makes it back onto the field, Diamondbacks farm director Mike Bell expects to have a discussion on the prospect’s timetable with the team's other decision-makers, reports Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic.