Exactly one year ago Monday, Minnesota Twins super utility player Royce Lewis tore his right ACL making a leaping catch in center field. It was the second time in roughly 18 months Lewis had torn the ligament. A long and grueling rehab followed, and on Monday, Lewis returned to the big leagues. The Twins called him up following 10 minor-league rehab games.
It did not take long for Lewis to make an impact. He launched a three-run home run in his second at-bat against Houston Astros righty J.P. France on Monday (GameTracker), exactly one year to the day following his torn ACL. It was an opposite-field shot too. To the action footage:
"This is a culmination of a lot of hard work from Royce," manager Rocco Baldelli told the Associated Press about Lewis being called up. "I'm excited to see Royce back out on the field. He can jolt you with the enthusiasm and all of the exciting things that he can do, but he's a good young player and he's had a long road to get back to this point."
Still only 23, Lewis was the No. 1 overall pick by Minnesota in the 2017 MLB draft,. Here's our scouting report:
Speaking of season-ending knee injuries, Lewis has now suffered a torn ACL in each of the past two years. Brutal. The most recent came last May, shortly after he'd made his big-league debut. Lewis appeared in 12 big-league games overall, batting .300/.317/.550 while seeing action at shortstop and in center field. The No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft could theoretically feature five average or better tools, including well-above-average speed. The question now is whether or not his body is going to allow him to put them to use.
Lewis hit .300/.317/.550 with two home runs in 12 big league games prior to the torn ACL last season in his first MLB action. He went 13 for 39 (.333) with two doubles and four homers in 10 minor-league rehab games this year. Lewis has experience all over the infield and in left and center fields. He has the skills to be an impact player who can play almost anywhere.
The Twins entered play Monday in first place in the AL Central with a 27-26 record. They are averaging 4.53 runs, just below the 4.58 MLB average, so getting Lewis back and into the lineup on a regular basis should give Minnesota's offense a nice spark.