Royce Lewis is healthy. Now, the Twins are trying to keep it that way

posted in: News | 0

NEW YORK — When Byron Buxton saw Royce Lewis take off for second base in his first rehab game after missing two months because of a quadriceps strain, everything started clicking into place for him. He finally realized the concern the Twins had had watching him over the years.

This is a 2023 photo of shortstop Royce Lewis of the Twins baseball team. This image reflects the Twins active roster as of Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, in Fort Myers, Fla., when this image was taken. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

“I was like, ‘Damn,’ ” Buxton said. “That literally was like me all over again. … It put it in perspective of how they felt when I was doing something of that nature.”

But Buxton knows just as well how hard it is, as a competitor, to slow things down, even if it is in the name of self-preservation. It was something he had to learn — and something the Twins are hoping to impart into Lewis as well.

Lewis had a scheduled day off on Thursday after playing in the first two games of the Yankees series. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said in his first week to 10 days back, Lewis would have two or three days off where he was not starting.

“At some point, it’ll be based on how he’s just recovering and what he’s saying. But the first week especially, we’re going to keep an eye on him,” Baldelli said.

Lewis has shown star power when he has been on the field. But the beginning of his career has been disrupted by multiple injuries. Now that he’s healthy, it’s a matter of doing everything they can to keep him on the field.

Baldelli called Lewis after he stole that base last month, incredulous at what he had seen.

“I was just playing the game I’ve always played. That’s just who I am. I play hard,” Lewis said. “When I came into the dugout, (Saints manager) Toby (Gardenhire) and guys were looking at me. Even my teammates. I was like, ‘I probably did something wrong.’ ”

But perhaps the message has gotten through to Lewis, who seemed to slow himself down running to first base on Wednesday on ground balls that he did not have a chance of beating out.

“I think he stayed under control (Wednesday) when he hit those groundballs, and that’s the way that we would like to keep it right now,” Baldelli said. “We’re not going to take his ability to play the game away. He’s still going to be out there doing his thin. But when you watch baseball over 162 games and a long six months, there are times where you’re going to cut it loose, and there are times where you’re still going to go hard but maybe you’re not cutting it loose.”

And while Lewis pledged that “Royce is going to play like Royce,” on Tuesday upon his return, there’s one thing that might slow him down — something he has done in each of his first two games since returning from the injured list.

“When he hits the ball over the fence, it’s not a sprint,” catcher Ryan Jeffers pointed out.


The Twins will head to Pittsburgh this weekend to take on the Pirates. Friday night’s game, which will be started by Joe Ryan, will air on Apple TV. Simeon Woods Richardson and Bailey Ober are also in line to start games at PNC Park.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.