SEATTLE – The troublesome right knee that cost Kyle Lewis almost a season and a half of development as a prospect and the first 17 games of the 2021 season has sent him to the injured list once again.
The Mariners announced multiple roster moves before Tuesday’s game that included activating Marco Gonzales from the injured list to start against the Oakland Athletics.
Lewis was placed on the 10-day injured list with a meniscus tear in his right knee.
After trying to make a difficult leaping catch and landing awkwardly in the eighth inning of Monday’s win over the A’s, Lewis was removed from the game with discomfort in the knee. He underwent multiple tests on the knee after the game and an MRI this morning. It revealed a tear.
Mariners manager Scott Servais said on ESPN 710 that Lewis suffered a small tear in the meniscus.
But when asked about it in his pregame media session, he wasn’t as definitive.
“I’m not a doctor,” Servais said. “Don’t hold me to those medical terms. I do know it was different than what he had in spring training. I thought yesterday, the initial report that I got was it was similar to that. It is different. It was a meniscus issue. In spring training, it was not.”
Servais wasn’t certain whether Lewis would need surgery to repair the tear.
“I’m not exactly sure what the course of action will be through his rehab if it is a scope-type surgery, or what the deal will be there,” he said. “I’ll give you more when I have it.”
Seattle recalled outfielder Taylor Trammell from Triple-A Tacoma to take Lewis’ place on the 25-man roster.
To make room for Gonzales on the active roster, right-hander Robert Dugger was optioned to Tacoma after Monday’s game.
Lewis suffered a bone bruise in the right knee in the final week of spring training and was forced to start the season on the injured list.
In 36 games since his return, he has a .246/.333/.392 slash line with four doubles, five homers, 11 RBIs, 16 walks and 37 strikeouts in 147 plate appearances. Over his past 10 games, he had a .289/.341/.500 slash line with two doubles, two homers, five RBI, two walks and 10 strikeouts in 41 plate appearances.
“The sad thing is he was in a great routine and he was feeling really good,” Servais said. “I know just talking to him daily that it’s the best his legs felt underneath him. At the plate, his bat was really heating up so we’re gonna miss him.”
Lewis has already undergone two surgical procedures on that right knee.
In his first professional season while playing with short-season Everett, Lewis suffered a gruesome knee injury in a collision at home plate with an opposing catcher on July 19, 2016. He suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament as well as a torn medial and lateral meniscus. It required season-ending reconstructive surgery on Aug. 11 of that year.
After moving near the Mariners’ spring training complex in Arizona and religiously rehabbing the knee to full strength, Lewis returned to the field on June 11, 2017. In his first official game of his return with Class A Modesto, Lewis slammed the surgically repaired knee into the outfield wall while trying to make a catch. He suffered a bruised knee. Complications from the surgery and the bruised knee hampered Lewis throughout the remainder of the 2017 season. He played in a total of 49 games, hitting. 257 with a .740 on-base plus slugging percentage, six doubles, a triple, seven homers and 31 RBIs.
After the 2017 season, Lewis dealt with continued discomfort in the knee during offseason workouts. He opted to have surgery to repair the pad near his patella and remove a bone fragment early in February of 2018, delaying the start to that season.
Jarred Kelenic got the start in center field on Tuesday and will play the bulk of the time there with Jake Fraley and Trammell also filling in. Kelenic is considered the best defensive center fielder of the trio.
Trammell took Lewis’ place on the opening-day roster, making the jump from Class AA to the big leagues. He played in 27 games with up-and-down results, posting a .157/.255/.337 slash line with three doubles, four homers, 11 RBI, 10 walks and 41 strikeouts in 95 plate appearances.
But he’s been dominating at the Class AAA level. In 17 games with the Rainiers, he has a .384/.413/.726 slash line with seven doubles, six homers, 18 RBI, three walks and 17 strikeouts in 80 plate appearances.
“It doesn’t surprise me he went down there and tore it up,” Servais said. “I know when he left here in my final meeting with him, he left in a good spot. He understood he needed to go down. He had things to work on. It didn’t go as smooth and he didn’t played as well as he’d hoped to here and he needed to start over. And that’s exactly what he did.“
Trammell’s issues is contact. When he makes contact, he hits the ball hard. But he struggled with MLB breaking pitches and had massive swing-and-miss issues.
“The strikeout rate got up pretty high,” Servais said. “The biggest thing is just make more contact. He’s got all kinds of ability. We saw it here. … It just wasn’t consistent.”
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