SEATTLE – Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis, the former American League Rookie of the Year, was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma on Aug. 10 but has yet to be appear in a game or be placed on the lineup card for the Rainiers.
After taking the three days given to a player to report to an affiliate after being optioned, Lewis has been going to Cheney Stadium for daily work. He’s been in the dugout for games and is on the roster, but he has yet to be activated to play.
Per MLB sources, the Mariners expected Lewis to play Wednesday for the Rainiers, but he wasn’t in the lineup. Similar to his previous rehab assignment, Lewis is making the decision on whether he can and will play.
The Mariners and Rainiers have been largely mum on this situation, though those same sources said that Lewis isn’t dealing with any issues regarding his troublesome right knee. Per the request of Lewis, who had his own rehab therapist consult with the Mariners on his recovery from season-ending knee surgery, the Mariners do not comment much beyond generalities on his health status.
On his radio show on Seattle Sports 710, Jerry Dipoto, M’s president of baseball operations, said the team hopes Lewis will be Tacoma’s lineup Friday as the designated hitter.
“We are very methodical in the movements that we make with Kyle and making sure he feels good when he goes out on the field,” Dipoto said. “The best we can do is provide him with as much care as we can.”
According to an MLB source, Lewis was stunned and upset by the Mariners’ decision to option him to Tacoma despite his struggles at the plate when he had four hits in 46 plate appearances with 18 strikeouts since returning from concussion injured list.
“I don’t think he saw that as a likely outcome for the way his career is trending,” Dipoto said. “We need to focus on what this team is doing and we feel like the best 26 players we can put on the field are out there right now.”
While the Mariners understood Lewis couldn’t play every day and would need recovery days to protect his knee, they were frustrated by the unpredictability of his availability, according to an MLB source. It was obvious that he was still limited in running and unable to play the outfield at a high level. But being unable to schedule Lewis for specific days to play at designated hitter made carrying him on the roster an impossibility, particularly with his hitting struggles.
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