Baseball / Sports

Twins top prospect Buxton taken off on ambulance after outfield collision in AA debut

HOUSTON -- Twins minor league outfielder Byron Buxton, rated the top prospect in baseball, collided with New Britain teammate Mike Kvasnicka while trying to catch a fly ball at full speed Wednesday night, knocking him unconscious and sending him to a nearby hospital by ambulance.

Buxton, playing his first game at the Class AA level, suffered a concussion in the collision, a source with direct knowledge of his condition said, but was able to move his arms and legs, and a CT scan was negative. Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said on a webcast of the game by MiLBTV.com, but "he is going to be fine."

The 19-year-old outfielder laid on the field for more than 15 minutes while athletic trainers and medical personnel surrounded him, stabilized him and loaded him into an ambulance. Buxton regained consciousness on the way to the hospital.

Buxton "was running at full speed after a line drive, and he sort of 1/8dove3/8 under 1/8Kvasnicka3/8 as they hit. It looked like he got hit in the neck by 1/8Kvasnicka's3/8 knee and he just fell flat on his face and didn't move," said Matt Haskell, a resident of Wallingford, Conn., who witnessed the collision. "Everybody just ran out there -- the catcher just sprinted out there, the training staffs from both teams. Neither one was moving."

The crowd was silent as the players laid on the ground. "They were both going full-speed," Haskell said. "This is 10 times worse than any collision I've ever seen."

Buxton was unconscious for 10 minutes, but Kvasnicka -- who somehow caught and held onto the line drive by Bowie's Michael Ohlman -- never lost consciousness. Kvasnicka, a former Gophers player and first-round draft pick of the Astros in 2010, laid on the ground for 15 minutes as well, until an ambulance arrived and drove onto the field to take both teammates to the hospital.

The game was halted for 35 minutes while the players were attended to, and when the game resumed, Haskell said, "it was dead silent. Totally quiet. ... It was a little surreal."

Buxton, who has been rated by Baseball America as the game's top prospect for two years, was promoted from Class A Fort Myers after Monday's game. He missed nearly three months of the season with a severely sprained left wrist, and had been active again only since July 6. He was 0-for-3 in Wednesday's debut, with three strikeouts, when the collision occurred in the fifth inning with the Rock Cats leading 4-1.

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