The Minnesota Twins are hoping to keep pace with the other playoff contenders in the American League, but they can't afford to be without one of their most dangerous hitters much longer.
Byron Buxton's availability remains in question for the Twins heading into the opener of a three-game series against the visiting Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
Buxton, who already has matched his MLB career high with 19 home runs this season, sat out the past two games because of soreness and swelling in his right knee.
Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said the injury is limiting Buxton's ability to swing and run.
"We have to watch him and assess him and just see what he's capable of every day," Baldelli said. "That's really what it comes down to. If he was able to do those things, he'd be playing."
Baldelli said the injury, which caused Buxton to miss five games in April, is a severe, chronic case of tendinitis that's causing soreness and swelling in the joint. The Twins are hoping Buxton can avoid a trip to the injured list. Baldelli said there's no guarantee that if Buxton took a month off he would return 100 percent.
"It's probably worse at the moment than it was two weeks ago, but this is unchanged in that it's the same thing we've been dealing with for 2 1/2 months," Baldelli said. "That hasn't changed. It hasn't gone away and it hasn't come close to really going away."
Buxton has only faced the Rockies three times in his MLB career, going 2-for-9 with a home run.
The Rockies will be looking to right their ship after they were swept in a three-game series at the Miami Marlins. Colorado has been swept in two of its last three series.
The Rockies plan to send right-hander German Marquez to the mound in the series opener.
Marquez (3-5, 6.16 ERA) is 2-0 with a 5.87 ERA this month. The Rockies have won all four of his starts in June.
Marquez is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in one career start against the Twins.
The hottest hitter for the Rockies continues to be Brendan Rodgers, who went 4-for-5 on Thursday. He is 7-for-18 with four RBIs and three runs in his last four games.
After needing 24 games just to lift his batting average over .200 this season, Rodgers is up to .255.
"I knew what I was doing wrong, just getting a little too big, a little too over-aggressive," Rodgers said of his early struggles. "I got back to myself (the past) series, just staying inside the ball and using the whole field. And that's when I know I'm doing the right thing."
The Twins will be looking for another solid pitching performance when they send Dylan Bundy to the mound for the series opener.
Four pitchers for Minnesota combined to blank the visiting Cleveland Guardians in a 1-0 win on Thursday, which ended a three-game losing streak.
Bundy (4-3, 5.17) also is coming off arguably his best start of the season, holding the Arizona Diamondbacks to one run and four hits in eight innings of a 11-1 win on Saturday. He struck out seven and didn't walk a batter.
Bundy is 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA in one career start against the Rockies.
--Field Level Media