Royce Lewis Back at 3rd Base for Twins vs Astros (Gm 3)

royce lewis
Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins will play in game 3 of the American League Division Series on Tuesday, vs the Houston Astros, with the best-of-five set tied 1-1. At this point, the momentum is on the side of the Twins. Minnesota has the pitching advantage in game 3 and Carlos Correa playing on their team.

Royce Lewis moving back to 3rd base

And on Tuesday morning, they got even more good news. AL Wildcard MVP, Royce Lewis, who has been stuck at designated hitter for the Twins’ first four postseason games thanks to a bad hamstring, is moving back to 3rd base for game 3 this afternoon.

Related: Minnesota Twins Playoff Lineup vs Houston Astros: ALDS (Gm 3)

On Monday, manager Rocco Baldelli hinted at Lewis’ move back to 3rd base when asked about his young superstar’s hamstring entering game 3. Rocco seemed optimistic at the prospect, and didn’t rule out Royce’s glove being in the Twins’ game plan as soon as game 3, though that might be a bit too hopeful.

“Yeah, there’s a chance [Royce Lewis] is gonna play third base this week. I don’t know if it’s gonna be tomorrow, though. We still have have to figure some things out on the medical side and have some conversations. I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.

He does look significantly better than he did seven days ago, you know, about a week ago. That’s great news for us. I mean, enough so, we’re we’re watching him go first to third. We put a safety squeeze on, with him on third base, and you know, there’s different things that he’s capable of right now.

He can help us on the bases, now. Before, you know, at the beginning of this playoff schedule, he probably wasn’t gonna be helping us too much on the bases. He was just gonna kind of, like I said, cruising speed. He’s improving so we’ll take that.”

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Lewis mimicked his manager, in the Twins clubhouse while talking to reporters, telling Darren Wolfson (KSTP) that his hamstring is feeling better and better. He talked about the baserunning he did in game 2 and got a huge smile on his face when he heard that Rocco gave him a possible green light to play defense, at some point in this series.

How much does it make you feel good that Rocco isn’t ruling out you playing third base in this series?

“Yeah, I just explained to [Rocco Baldelli] that I feel a lot better, just running from 1st to 3rd a couple times, testing it out. It’s the playoffs. I’m not turning off my brain, in terms of trying to get us into a good position to score. If I’m hurting, I’m going to try and get there no matter what, either way. But, [my hamstring] felt way better.”

“That’s really cool. That’s nice of him to say. Get’s me excited, but you know, like I’ve told people in the past, whatever Rocco decides, ultimately, I have the most faith in him, so I’ll I’ll trust that decision and I just keep working and putting, you know, my best foot forward so that he can make good decisions.”

Moving Royce Lewis from DH to 3B, in the starting lineup, is a huge deal for the Minnesota Twins defense. With Lewis out, Rocco has played Eddie Julien at 2B and Jorge Polanco at 3B. Julien has been better at 2nd this postseason, than he was in the regular season, but he’s far from their best option there.

Related: Mr. October Carlos Correa Has Arrived and He is Beautiful

Polanco, on the other hand, has noticeably struggled at 3rd base. He’s only been credited with one error but he’s had at least two other balls that were very gettable, find their way through, including this one, which allowed for one of the best defensive plays in Twins postseason history by Carlos Correa.

But what Jorge Polanco lacks at 3rd base, he excels at 2B, going from a defensive liability to a defensive gold glove. And Royce Lewis has looked very above average at the hot corner all 2nd half of the season.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Twins

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