LOS ANGELES – It seemed like it would never happen. OK, so we always knew he had all the tools. But with Twins center fielder Byron Buxton, there was always something in the way. Mostly injuries. Inconsistent play, of course. Low batting average and high total outs? Yeah, this stuff happened.

Still, Buxton was always too talented to ever make the All-Star team, right?

In 2022, his eighth major league season, Buxton is finally here. And he’s starting now, replacing an injury (for Angels star Mike Trout). He discovered it at the last minute, during the Twins game on Sunday.

“The scoreboard, yesterday,” Buxton said Monday when asked how he found out he was a starter in the 2022 All-Star Game. “I mean it was the third inning, maybe- to be. When everyone found out about it, that’s when I found out about it.”

Some might say that was a long time coming for the 28-year-old. After all, he was No. 2 in the 2012 MLB Draft out of high school and his cap put him at the top of the prospect rankings for years.

Getting to this point was mostly a matter of staying on the pitch. Buxton is a dynamic all-around athlete. He is a superb defender and baserunner. It packs a ton of power into its spindly frame. He was so good in 2021 that he posted 4.5 WAR in just 61 games.

This is where the problem has been for so many years. Buxton played 140 games in 2017. After that, his second-highest total in MLB is 92 games. Even in the pandemic-shortened 60-game 2020 season, he missed 21 games.

This season, Buxton has managed to mostly stay in the lineup. He’s at 73 games right now. He hit 23 homers with a 132 OPS+ and 2.9 WAR. And he was an integral part of the Twins who held onto the top spot for most of the season.

“It was a special moment,” Buxton said of being named the starter. “I’m just blessed. I’m not too much of one to go out and think ‘I have to be a starter,’ but the opportunity to start for the AL All-Star team is a special moment for me. It’s like a dream come true.”

He noted that being part of the team in the first place, in light of all the injury-related adversity he faced, was emotional, although his clubhouse mates moved things in a celebratory direction. .

“My teammates helped me put some perspective on it. It made it easier for me to take advantage of it.”

He also had fun with a back-to-back home run with Giancarlo Stanton for the American League – the seventh time it had happened in an All-Star Game.

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