Royce Lewis Ahead of Schedule; Could Play in Live Games by Mid-April

Photo: Jeffrey Becker - USA Today Sports

Twins top prospect, Royce Lewis, tore his ACL last season, slamming into the center field wall playing out of position during his 12th-ever big league game. It was the second time he’s undergone surgery to repair the ACL in his right knee.

Royce Lewis recovery ahead of schedule

Best case scenario, his return timeline had him back around the 2023 All-Star break (July 11). That’s four months away. But his recovery has gone so well, Lewis told reporters on Thursday that he could play right now, if not for the cautious approach to recovery that the Twins, who have just recently cleared him to run the bases, have decided to take.

Royce has zero pain and never thinks about his knee, outside of when he’s caring for it. He places himself at 90-100% recovered, “with an aim at 120%”. Whatever that means…

Lewis, who had surgery on June 21, is exuberant about how well he’s doing and has been all along. Recently asked how he felt, Lewis said 90-100 percent with an aim at reaching 120 percent.

The Twins understand this is exactly what they’d get from Lewis, enthusiasm and excitement. It’s why they’ve pumped the brakes on his behalf. Were he left on his own, Lewis, the first pick of the 2017 draft, would have pushed to already be on the field.

Dan Hayes – The Athletic
Twins taking cautious approach

Minnesota Twins trainer, Nick Paparesta, tried to deflate some of the enthusiasm surrounding an early return for Lewis, saying that a mid-season return to the big league lineup is still the expectation. Paparesta admitted, however, that he could be playing in live minor-league games by mid-April. At that point, he’d have to be completely cleared physically.

The most recent benchmark announced by the Twins could have Lewis, who is on the 60-day injured list, playing in minor-league games by the middle of April, trainer Nick Paparesta told reporters Wednesday.

Dan Hayes – The Athletic

As Hayes noted, the Twins placed Royce Lewis on the 60-day injured list, to start the season. That means he can’t play MLB games until the end of May. But, if in that 1.5 months (from mid-April to late May), Lewis has gotten his timing right and shaken off any cobwebs that may have built up, what would stop him from returning to the Twins lineup in early June, should they need him (injury, trade, sickness, etc) or he proves a better option than others on roster?

Twins’ President of Baseball Operations, Derek Falvey, says it isn’t the ACL they are worried about. It’s building up all of the muscles and tendons around it.

“He’s plenty healthy,” Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. “The tricky part … is the ACL is repaired. It’s good. It’s done. It’s all the muscles around it, making sure the strengthening is in a good spot and all that. He’s like, ‘I feel great!’ And yeah, of course you do. You feel perfect. It’s more just building everything around it. So, yeah, we would start him in Florida and just naturally go from there.”

Dan Hayes – The Athletic

Royce Lewis would be a big boost for Twins in 2nd half

Lewis has already proven he’s ready for Major League Baseball. Sure, his 41 MLB plate appearances are a small sample size so it’s best not to read too much into his hot start on paper (.300 BA, 2 HR, .867 OPS and 145 OPS+).

But it’s how Lewis looked on the field, in the batter’s box and around the clubhouse. He was ready for the big leagues and you could see it in the way he carried himself. If the Minnesota Twins are able to add a healthy Royce Lewis to their lineup in June, it would immediately upgrade their lineup to another level. It’d be the equivalent of adding a big time bat and glove long before the trade deadline, without having to give anything up.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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