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A year after second ACL tear, Royce Lewis returns, makes immediate impact for Twins

WCCO digital headlines: Morning of May 30, 2023
WCCO digital headlines: Morning of May 30, 2023 01:17

MINNEAPOLIS -- Royce Lewis' last two years were derailed by ACL tears, but he made his season debut with the Minnesota Twins Monday and left little doubt about whether he was ready to return.

Lewis had a home run and four RBIs in a 7-5 win over the Houston Astros. The Twins named him player of the game for his performance.

In eight games for the AAA St. Paul Saints this season, the 23-year-old Lewis had four homers, 10 RBIs and hit .333. His prowess at the plate translated smoothly to the majors.

"It just shows me that I've put in a lot of hard work to get stronger and put some more force and effort into hitting the baseball over the fence and into the ballpark here, and when it shows, it's fun," Lewis told WCCO's Mike Max before his return Monday.

Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros
HOUSTON, TEXAS - MAY 29: Royce Lewis #23 of the Minnesota Twins hits an RBI single during the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on May 29, 2023 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images

Lewis, the Twins' No. 2 prospect by MLB's measure, was drafted as a shortstop. With Carlos Correa signed to a multiyear contract and holding down that position for the foreseeable future, Lewis started at third base on Monday.

"I'll play wherever I need to, I think I showed that, that I can do it as well," Lewis said. "Except for catcher and pitcher, don't put me there. Other than that I can play wherever I need to."  

Lewis' second ACL tear occurred exactly one year before his debut Monday. His first came in February 2021. Both tears occurred in his right knee.

Lewis is hoping his latest leap to the majors is the one that keeps him there for the long haul. 

"As I've learned being injured, missing the time, when I'm away from it it's just tough, and I miss the game," he said, "and when I'm out here I just take full advantage."

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