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  • Partial ACL Tear Ends Lewis's Season... Again!


    Seth Stohs

    The Twins announced on Friday afternoon that a partial tear was found on Royce Lewis's right ACL in an MRI he took on Thursday. He is headed for a second ACL surgery and will likely be out for 12 months. 

    Image courtesy of Jeffrey Becker, USA TODAY Sports

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    It's just not fair! Why can't we have nice things?

    When did this start anyway? Joe Mauer was hurt in his second game, hurting his knee sliding on the Metrodome turf. That was April 2004. Since then, Jason Kubel missed over a year when he tore up his knee playing in the Arizona Fall League. Miguel Sano and Alex Kirilloff had Tommy John surgery when they were in the minor leagues. Of course, several pitchers have lost development time due to Tommy John, including Francisco Liriano, maybe the best pitcher over any two-month stretch in Twins history, is the toughest example. 

    The list goes on and on, and we haven't even mentioned the concussions that altered the career trajectories of Mauer, Justin Morneau, Denard Span, and others. 

    And Byron Buxton. Like Buxton, Royce Lewis works incredibly hard. He is well-liked by everyone around him, especially their teammates. They want to play. They want to play well. They want to win. But unfortunately, staying on the field

    Players get hurt. That's part of the game. We know that. But it certainly seems the Twins have had way more of their fair share. 

    Lewis told reporters, "It sucks!" 

    The initial report was a bone bruise, but there was so much swelling, another MRI was needed. Encouraged to get a second opinion, Lewis saw the MRI. "I love my teammates, and I'd love to be out there as much as I can, but I don't want to be out there halfway." 

    He also said that this time, they will also take steps to brace the knee so it has a little less give to make any further similar injuries less likely. "It basically tightens your right side and makes it more stable."

    Maybe the most frustrating part is he doesn't know exactly how it happened. "All I remember was I was about to make a really cool play," he said, laughing. "You can just tell when you're about to make a catch. 

    Lewis is expected to miss 12 months again after the complete reconstruction of his ACL again. "Yeah, I'm not afraid of the surgery. That's for sure. The first time, if I told you I wasn't, I was definitely hiding it."

    "It's just another pause in my life here." 

    Lewis hit over .300 in his 11 games with the Twins. He showed off his power, speed, arm, and defense in his short stint. Lewis knows he can and will come back, and be able to play in the big leagues. 

    The Catch? "Yeah, I just mistimed my jump. I'm not familiar with the outfield, in general. So that's probably why. I'm very happy I made the catch, though."

    But he certainly is taking lessons from the incident. "So, yeah, I'm afraid of the wall." 

    But he definitely does not regret playing the outfield. "I'm a baseball player. I want to help my team and compete. It's unfortunate I got hurt. It's a freak injury. Nothing we could have done. Truly wouldn't have done anything different." 

    His manager, Rocco Baldelli, feels the same way. The organization had a need, and Lewis had some experience in center field, including a couple years ago in the Arizona Fall League. "On my end, and on the organization's end, I don't think we would say we regret any part it. I regret that he has to go through this right now."

    Baldelli, who struggled with his own health issues throughout his playing career, is impressed with what he sees from Lewis, even as he faces this frustration head on. "He's handling is as well as I think any young person could handle something like this. Or anyone at all. He is, as we know, a very upbeat and positive individual,"

    Needless to say, the mood was pretty somber in the Twins clubhouse as the news was digested. "It's one of those things that it's almost hard to wrap your head around, that fact that this is going to happen again," Baldelli reflected. "But I fully expect him to come back and do exactly what he did this time around. I see no reason why he won't. And he's one of the best young players in baseball."

     

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    Wow... This kid just can't catch a break. If he comes back next year and plays to the level it appears he is capable, it will be an awesome feel-good story. And if anyone can do it, it's him. But it sure feels like we're snake bit, doesn't it? Can't help but wonder what our season would look like if Gray, Buxton, Lewis, Kirilloff, etc etc were all healthy. This is just depressing....

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    Unreal. Playing him out of position proved to be a terrible move, but I realize that they wanted to get his bat back in the bigs, and position flexibility it seemed to work okay for Gordon. But still, was this wise in his first year coming off of ACL? The results say no.

    You know, being a fan of this team isn't the easiest thing in the world.

    Okay, pity party over. Go get 'em, Lewis. You can still be a great story in 2023 as well.

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    Absolutely brutal news. Unbelievable. To say it really sucks doesn't even come close. Everyone just feels so bad for the guy. We saw what he was capable of, and now another wasted year. No doubt he'll come back strong, but this is a real gut punch. 

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    1 hour ago, LastOnePicked said:

    Unreal. Playing him out of position proved to be a terrible move, but I realize that they wanted to get his bat back in the bigs, and position flexibility it seemed to work okay for Gordon. But still, was this wise in his first year coming off of ACL? The results say no.

    And the first time, he was walking down his front steps.  The front office should have forbidden him from doing that.  I blew out a knee playing 3B.  It could happen anywhere.

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    Yeah it really doesn't seem fair.  He proved all the doubters wrong only to get hurt yet again.  Its life and stuff happens but Lewis has had brutal luck.  His attitude is so good I don't think I could be as positive as he is.  I would probably just be depressed.  He is right though just face the reality of it and come back and try again.  Tomorrow is another day.  See ya next spring Royce.

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    5 minutes ago, terrydactyls said:

    And the first time, he was walking down his front steps.  The front office should have forbidden him from doing that.  I blew out a knee playing 3B.  It could happen anywhere.

    Yes, it can.  Still no reason not to pad those walls better & reduce the risk of hard contact.

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    Such a bad story for a wonderful person and player.  Maybe the idea of having players cover lots of positions has its flaw.  No longer a question of who is brought up next - it has to be Kirilloff, but he too has a long history of injuries.  Back to Bud Grant - the most valuable players are those who are available when you need them - Hello Jim Marshall. 

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    5 minutes ago, terrydactyls said:

    The front office should have forbidden him from doing that.  I blew out a knee playing 3B. 

    Agreed. They should have moved you off of 3B, too. 

    Consult Betty Boop GIF by Fleischer Studios

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    It was a dumb idea to have him play all over. I said it at the time as I wanted him to focus on SS. He would have just been sent down after substantial time at SS. For a risk averse organization that was a dumb move.  

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    1 hour ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

    Right now I don't give a damn about what this does to the team. I just feel really bad for Royce.

    I apologize for the above post. I was upset and I really do care about what this does to the team   Royce gave a remarkably mature response to this  injury in an interview.  While I know we are all disappointed for Royce, it is appropriate to discuss the effects on the Twins, now and in the future. 

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    My comment, Seth, was oh Sh......  As for those who blame the Twins for playing him in Center, I have always believed his biggest risk was at shortstop.  With his speed there is a real danger when going after a deep foul pop up near the tarp.  Unfortunately if he goes under the knife next week the earliest he will be back is next year’s all-star break.  If Correa isn’t back at least we know Palacios can handle short.

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    Of course, because....TWINS!

    I know all teams have injuries, to top players and lesser players, but looking back the last 15-20yrs, has any team had so many devastating and career affecting injuries to their top players? 

    Taking the pity pillow off of my head, all the best to Lewis and his recovery. He's a talented and tough young man who will almost assuredly come out of this healthy, strong and ready to go and resume what should be a great career. But he sure doesn't deserve this.

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    Just an add: How crazy is timing? He doesn't play CF that day, the next day Correa goes on Covid and Lewis is the starting SS for 7-10 days and this injury probably never happens. No blame to anyone other than fate. But man, what lousy timing.

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    19 minutes ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

    I apologize for the above post. I was upset and I really do care about what this does to the team

    Don't sweat it. We're all struggling with the soul-crushing frustration of the news. And we're all pulling for Lewis to re-start this story in a year.

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    1 hour ago, PDX Twin said:

    How does this affect his service time? Since he was in MLB, will the time he is out with the injury count?

    Since he was on the major league roster, he will egt major league pay for all his time off. The Twins will also be able to 60-day IL him, and add another person to the 40-man. He will have to be added to the 40-man in the off season and hold a pisition thru spring training, when he could, then again, be placed on the 60-day IL. 

    If head been in the minors, he would jsut be on the minor league il and the Twins couldn't add a player, unless they transferred him to the majors list.

    Again, he collects major league salary for this season. Next season, he will get a standard major/minor (40-man pay) contract, paying him major league pay thru his injury and rehab. Once he is optioned, he would get reduced pay and lose service time.

    So because of his time in the minors this season, and his time in the minors next season, the Twins will still have him, I believe, for six more seasons. I don't think he will make the cut-off, but let's do one year at a time.

    But it also means the Twins will need a shortstop next season can only hope that Royce gets in shape in May and June to play July-September with decent stats and a late-September callup and, hopefully, ability to play in 2024.

    Of course, now is the time for Austin Martin to shine at shortstop, Jermaine Palacios to play his heart out in St. Paul, Spencer Steer to play more shortstop than 2B or 3B, or Gordon to be ready with his glove if the opportunity rpesents itself.

    I imagine Correa MIGHT stay if his pot is sweetened. But I also expect he will explore long-term contract options.

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