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Is a Byron Buxton recall imminent?

Buxton started the season with the Twins, but was sent down April 25th after struggling at the plate. How soon could he be back?

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Twins had limited options at center field going into the 2016 season, so they were hoping they could just slide Byron Buxton into the position and he'd figured figure it out. Unfortunately, since 2016 is the season where Twins' hopes go to die, that didn't happen. He was fine (or more than fine) defensively, but offensively he stunk, hitting just .158/.208/.289 with 24 strikeouts. Buxton made it 17 games before he was optioned to AAA along with the Twins' other most viable center fielder, Max Keplar.

Danny Santana has been the starting center fielder in 25 of the 27 games the Twins have played since sending down Buxton and Keplar. The only other players to make starts or play in the position are Eddie Rosario and Darin Mastroianni. Since Rosario was demoted May 18th, and Mastroianni was placed on the DL Wednesday, the Twins are basically playing with one center fielder on the roster: Danny Santana (if he even qualifies as a true center fielder).

That's where the Buxton thing comes in.

Buxton has been killing it in AAA. He initially continued to struggle at the plate, but has since taken off. In the month of May, Buxton is hitting .380 in 71 at-bats with an an OPS of 1.105. He was out the whole week last week with back spasms, which was troubling, but he returned Monday and went right back to where he left off. He's hit a home run in each of his past three games.

The Twins currently have 13 pitchers and a three-man bench due to very short starts by Ervin Santana and Ricky Nolasco earlier in the week, but one has to suspect this is not a permanent arrangement. The Twins currently have four "outfielders" (Oswaldo Arcia, Robbie Grossman, Miguel Sano, and Danny Santana), but none of them are truly center fielders. The Twins will probably bring up another position player soon, and Byron seems like the obvious choice. He would take over as the everyday center fielder and Danny Santana could slide back into a super utility role.

Of course there are other things to consider, the biggest being Buxton's overall development. It's not like the 2016 Twins are going anywhere this season. Would it be more beneficial to for Buxton to just continue to beat the snot out of the ball in AAA for awhile? That I can't answer.

But the Twins have a need (well, technically they have many needs, but you know what I'm saying), and Buxton currently seems like a very good option to meet that need. It's not rocket science.

Look for Buxton back in a Twins uniform in the very near future.