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Twins recognize Buxton, Baxendale for stellar Aprils

Twins recognize Buxton, Baxendale for stellar Aprils

CLEVELAND -- Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony couldn't remember a tougher decision during his tenure with the club than who to vote for in the balloting for the Twins' Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month in April.

But after the votes within the organization were tallied, outfielder Byron Buxton was named Minor League Player of the Month and right-hander DJ Baxendale was named Minor League Pitcher of the Month on Saturday.

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"I don't recall ever having as many guys having big months the same month," Antony said.

Buxton, ranked as the No. 19 overall prospect according to MLB.com, hit .392/.510/.684 with four homers, five doubles, three triples and nine stolen bases in 22 games at Class A Cedar Rapids in April.

The 19-year-old beat out fellow top prospect Miguel Sano, who batted .368/.435/.747 with a Minor League-leading nine homers and 24 RBIs in 25 games in April with Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Other top candidates were Adam Walker and Jorge Polanco of Class A Cedar Rapids .

"Sano -- when you hit home runs in that ballpark, in that league, with the big league Spring Training ballparks, that's impressive," Antony said. "Buxton walked more than he struck out -- that kind of discipline, and hitting the way he is. Adam Walker had 16 RBIs in a week. Jorge Polanco is hitting .350 at Cedar Rapids. Any of those guys would normally win it."

Baxendale, 22, was impressive at Fort Myers in April, going 4-0 with a 1.84 ERA in five starts. Baxendale, taken in the 10th round of last year's First-Year Player Draft, also struck out 25 and walked six in 29 1/3 innings.

He beat other candidates such as Steven Gruver and Tyler Duffey at Cedar Rapids and Alex Meyer at Double-A New Britain.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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