Mariners CF Kyle Lewis’ availability for opening day in jeopardy
Mariners center fielder and reigning American League Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis may not be in Seattle’s lineup when opening day rolls around Thursday.
Lewis has been kept out of action at spring training since injuring his right knee Monday in a game against the Dodgers, including Saturday’s 6:40 p.m. game against San Francisco that will air on 710 ESPN Seattle.
Mariners manager Scott Servais indicated Saturday that because the injury hasn’t responded like the team had hoped, it may result in Seattle needing to find somebody else to roam center field to begin their three-game series at T-Mobile Park against the Giants.
The injury occurred to Lewis’ right knee, which is the same knee he had surgically repaired early on in his pro career. Lewis leapt to attempt to make a catch on a Justin Turner double Monday, banging it against the outfield wall (watch the play below).
“I don’t think any of us were concerned early on,” Servais said Saturday. “He did have some more tests on it. He’s got a pretty deep bone bruise I guess is the best way to describe it. It’s on the outside of his right knee. Right now based on where we’re at, we’re trying to get that calmed down as quick as we can hoping it’s nothing more than that.”
The timing of the injury is plenty concerning.
“Being this close to opening day… we’ll have to wait and see how it goes. Is he going to be available opening day? I’m not sure,” Servais said. “I’m as surprised as anybody based on what we thought here the first couple days (after the injury). It hasn’t really responded the way he or the training staff was hoping it would. We are getting close to opening day so I guess that puts it in jeopardy a little bit.”
Because the injury occurred during spring training, if Lewis ends up needing to be placed on the 10-day injured list, the move would be limited to being retroactive to March 29 and not the actual date of the injury. That would result in him having to miss the entirety of the Mariners’ six-game homestand to begin the season.
The Mariners reassigned outfield prospect Jarred Kelenic to minor league spring training on Friday, leaving them with four outfielders – Lewis, Mitch Haniger, Taylor Trammell and Jake Fraley – and three utility players who can play the outfield – Dylan Moore, José Marmolejos and Sam Haggerty – still in camp ahead of their final roster cuts, which are expected to be made Sunday or earlier.
Though Kelenic’s reassignment doesn’t rule him out for being recalled, it’s unlikely Seattle would do that based on what the team has mapped out as its plan for the 21 year old. The Mariners could look outside the organization to add a player who is cut by another team in spring training should Lewis have to miss time to begin the season.