Maeda unlikely to return, Buxton sore, but Twins help on way

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — As they try to stay in the playoff race, the Minnesota Twins could get back several reinforcements from the injured list in the next few weeks. Former ace Kenta Maeda is unlikely to be one of them.

Twins President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey said Monday that All-Star center fielder Byron Buxton, who’s out with low grade right hip strain, will stay in Minnesota to rehab when the team leaves for a road trip that starts Friday. Falvey said Buxton still has soreness in his hip.

“Obviously, most focused on getting Byron where he needs to be, more than anything,” Falvey said.

Falvey outlined where multiple players are in their rehab, noting outfielder Trevor Larnach and pitchers Josh Winder, Bailey Ober and Randy Dobnak are getting closer to a return.

Right-hander Tyler Mahle (right shoulder inflammation) has thrown bullpen sessions and could be ready to return to the Twins later this week.

But while reports are encouraging on Maeda’s rehab from elbow replacement surgery, the team won’t push for a return for the pitcher this season. Maeda had Tommy John surgery last September and a recent check-up with Dr. Keith Meister was promising.

“Everything kind of feels like it’s in a good place,” Falvey said. “However, based on the return progression from the doctor’s standpoint and from what Kenta feels comfortable with, we aren’t going to push as hard over the next couple of weeks because we just want to make sure he’s comfortable, the doctor’s comfortable and otherwise.”

Maeda has been throwing bullpens and the team originally believed he might be ready to help in September. Falvey said he’s been throwing upper-80s to low-90s mph in his throwing sessions.

Maeda and Dobnak (right middle finger strain) have missed the entire season. Dobnak has returned to throwing — he’s part of a group of three pitchers with Winder (shoulder impingement) and Ober (right groin strain) that could help Minnesota soon.

Winder is scheduled to pitch three innings for Triple-A St. Paul on Tuesday. Ober has thrown live batting practice and is lined up to start for Single-A Fort Myers on Sept. 1. Winder, Ober and Dobnak are former starters who will likely return in a bullpen role.

Larnach has missed the past 56 games with a core muscle injury, but he’s scheduled to play for Fort Myers by the end of this week. Also, catcher Ryan Jeffers has gone to Fort Myers to increase his activity after surgery on a fractured right thumb.

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