Royce Lewis is Starting Rehab Assignment at Highest Possible Level

Royce Lewis, Minnesota Twins
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins lineup is starting to get healthy, and it’s on the verge of getting its biggest jolt of healthy talent yet. Royce Lewis is starting a rehab assignment on Friday.

Not down in Florida, though, or somewhere else hours away from the Twin Cities. The Twins’ rising superstar talent is joining the St. Paul Saints, right across the river… though he will have to fly to Buffalo to meet up with them.

A quick glance at Royce Lewis’ 2024 stat line will indicate two things. One, he played in just a single game. Two, his impact was felt in that single appearance.

On Opening Day, Lewis blasted a home run in the first at bat. Then, he followed that up with a base hit in his second at bat. Unfortunately, he pulled up lame between 2nd and 3rd base. He’s been out ever since.

Lewis was diagnosed with a severe quad strain, and initial timelines for his return were murky, at best. Having missed the Minnesota Twins last 48 games, he will look to quickly acclimate with the St. Paul Saints, so he can return to the big league lineup.

Related: Mitch Garver Tells Royce Lewis to Only Run 85% So He Can Stay on Field for Minnesota Twins

In his absence, it has been a combination of Jose Miranda, Willi Castro, and Kyle Farmer that have assumed duties at the hot corner. Of them, Castro has fared the best offensively with a 116 OPS+.

Miranda currently owns a 113 OPS+ and has shown that he was clearly bothered by the shoulder injury that sent him for offseason surgery last year.

How do Minnesota Twins make room for Royce Lewis?

When Lewis returns, the front office will have an interesting decision to make as far as roster construction goes. Miranda could slide across the diamond and play first, a position he is worse at.

Castro will primarily fill in as a utility outfielder. That leaves Farmer as something of the odd man out. He was kept on a $6.3 million arbitration deal this offseason, and has tallied a putrid 53 OPS+ in 39 games.

Parting with the veteran clubhouse leader would be tough from a chemistry perspective, but he has clearly been the worst performer.

Royce Lewis will return to a Twins lineup that he highlighted during an exciting 2023 postseason run. In the playoffs last year, even while dealing with another injury, Lewis smacked four home runs and posted a 1.119 OPS. It was his presence that tormented both the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays into submission.

The time frame is eerily similar this time around, and with St. Paul scheduled for two weeks in upstate New York (split between Buffalo and Rochester), the Twins could presumably have their star return home to Target Field joining them against the Kansas City Royals next week.

As they look to chase down the Cleveland Guardians, having and keeping a healthy Royce Lewis will be vital to their success.

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