MARCH 31: Lewis will indeed begin 2021 on the injured list, Corey Brock of The Athletic tweets.
MARCH 27: Reigning AL Rookie Of The Year Kyle Lewis is suffering from a deep bone bruise on the outside of his right knee, Mariners manager Scott Servais told Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (Twitter links) and other reporters. Lewis hasn’t played since Monday, when he suffered the injury colliding with the outfield wall in pursuit of a fly ball.
It isn’t yet clear if Lewis will be able to return to the field for any more Cactus League action, or even be available for the Mariners’ opener on Thursday. An injured list placement could be inevitable, as the M’s are naturally going to be as careful as possible with the health of their young star.
Between the shortened 2020 season and his brief call-up during the 2019 campaign, Lewis has made only 317 plate appearances in 76 Major League games, yet he has already made a big impact. Lewis has hit .264/.347/.477 with 17 homers as a big leaguer, and established himself as a key piece for the rebuilding Mariners.
If Lewis isn’t available at the start of the season, Taylor Trammell, Jake Fraley, or Braden Bishop could play center field, or Lewis’ replacement might not yet be on the roster. Divish reports that the Mariners have been checking out other teams’ roster for any intriguing late-spring cuts, and Servais said that GM Jerry Dipoto will look at adding an external option depending on Lewis’ recovery timeline. Of course, Seattle fans would love to see star prospect Jarred Kelenic as soon as possible, but Kelenic has already been optioned to Triple-A and likely won’t be making his big league debut until a bit later in the season (i.e. when the Mariners can ensure another year of team control).