8/18/2014 8:22 P.M. ET
Vargas making smooth transition from Double-A
Gardenhire impressed with young slugger, who's learning from Mauer
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Making the jump straight from Double-A to the Majors is never easy.
But the Twins like the way Kennys Vargas has handled himself since being called up from Double-A New Britain on July 31. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound slugger has been seeing time mostly at designated hitter and has developed into a run producer in his short time in the big leagues.
Vargas picked up three hits and three RBIs on Sunday, and became the first Twins rookie to have at least five multi-RBI games through his first 15 games.
"We love watching him come up to the plate," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's a strong kid. He's put together some good at-bats with runners in scoring position. He's even shooting the ball the other way. Whatever it takes. So it's a learning process every day for him, but fortunately for us, he's a big strong kid who doesn't let it get to him."
Vargas has had some issues with strikeouts, but the switch-hitter is working on his plate discipline. He said the return of Joe Mauer has been a big help, as he's been learning from the six-time All-Star.
"They ask me to be more patient at the plate," Vargas said. "I see what they throw to Mauer and that's helped me a lot."
Vargas said the key is to have a plan at the plate, and so far it's working out for the 24-year-old rookie.
"I try just to do the same approach -- look for my pitch," Vargas said. "When I see the pitch that I'm looking for, I try to make contact."
Twins opt to end Buxton's Minor League season
MINNEAPOLIS -- Top prospect Byron Buxton is expected to be held out of Minor League action for the rest of the season after suffering a concussion in an outfield collision Wednesday, Twins general manager Terry Ryan said Monday.
Buxton, ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect by MLB.com, was involved in a collision with his teammate Mike Kvasnicka in right-center field while playing in his first game with Double-A New Britain.
Ryan was on hand to witness the collision and said Buxton was lucky to only suffer concussion-like symptoms as a result. But the Twins plan to be cautious with Buxton, as he's not expected to return before New Britain's season ends Sept. 1.
Buxton flew to Fort Myers, Fla., on Sunday and will be monitored by the club's medical staff at their Spring Training complex there.
"I would doubt it," Ryan said of Buxton making his return. "They're on the road for 11 days and he's going to be in Florida and we still have to go through the protocol to get him cleared. So I don't think we're going to mess with it."
Ryan said that Buxton is also dealing with some stiffness as a result of the collision, but was fortunate not to break any bones. He added his concussions symptoms also have been minor, as he's only been dealing with some headaches and hasn't had any sensitivity to light or sound.
"He's stiff is what it comes down to," Ryan said. "He has some stiffness in the upper body around his neck area. But other than that, he's doing very well."
Ryan said that if Buxton continues to make progress, he could play in the Arizona Fall League in October. But the club's GM said he's not ready to commit to that because it's difficult to predict how long the concussion-like symptoms will last.
"Only if he's ready," Ryan said. "I don't want to get premature on how he'll recover and feel two weeks from now. First things first, we need to go through the Major League protocol for concussion symptoms. But he's in Fort Myers, which is convenient, so we can ramp him up there. The fall league starts Oct. 7, so it makes some sense that might be a good progression."
Gardenhire cites advanced metrics in analyzing Dozier
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has been called an old-school manager, but casually mentioned a site used for advanced statistics when referencing Brian Dozier's progress at the plate this season.
Gardenhire described Dozier's breakout season and said he still has room to get better if he can lay off pitches outside the zone. Gardenhire mentioned the site, Fangraphs.com, as a reference to see how Dozier is doing in that regard.
Dozier entered Monday leading the American League with 84 runs scored despite hitting .235. He's been helped by 65 walks to boost his on-base percentage to a more respectable .333.
"He can run and steal some bases, so he puts himself in scoring positions situations, but I think he can probably even score more if his on-percentage gets higher and higher," Gardenhire said. "Right now, he's a swinger. But he also does have a number of walks, which is unique for how much he swings. So I don't know on Fangraphs how much he swings inside and outside of the zone, but I bet if he cuts down on his swings outside the zone, he'll probably get on base more."
Dozier is swinging at 25 percent of pitches outside the zone this season while offering at 51.4 percent of pitches inside the zone, according to Fangraphs. He's also swinging at 38.4 percent of all pitches he's seen this year.
He's swinging at fewer strikes and at more balls than last year, when he swung at 23.1 percent of pitches out of the zone and 53.5 percent inside the zone.
Gardenhire said he sees Fangraphs.com referenced in the daily clips he reads, and also will go on the site to look up statistics every so often. Twins closer Glen Perkins is also a noted fan of the site.
"I read it," Gardenhire said. "It's really interesting. We've looked up stuff before. It's real interesting stuff."