Mariners’ Kyle Lewis Out For Season

Kyle Lewis, the College Player of the Year and the 11th overall pick last month by the Mariners, will miss the rest of the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament as well as the medial and lateral meniscus in his right knee during a game Tuesday.

Lewis was hurt trying to score a run for short-season Everett against Tri-City (Padres) on Tuesday. Lewis collided with Tri-City catcher Chris Mattison after rounding third base as Mattison was coming up the line. Lewis clutched his knee and stayed on the ground for several minutes before limping to the dugout.

As Lewis neared the plate, he slowed down and appeared to hyperextend his right knee just before colliding with Mattison. He immediately fell down, his injury apparent.

In 30 games in short-season ball, Lewis was slashing .299/.385/.534 with three homers, eight doubles and five triples and was among the league leaders in hits, RBIs, triples, extra-base hits and runs scored. One evaluator told Baseball America that Lewis was “killing good pitches,” and appeared primed for a promotion.

How long Lewis will be out is uncertain, vice president of player personnel Tom Allison said.

“Not being a doctor, it’s all about the individual,” Allison said. “Kyle has age, athleticism, the ability to bounce back. It’s case-specific. (Doctors will) give you a 10-12 month timeframe, just as a precaution, but (Kyle will) tell us when he’s ready.”

In his brief pro career, Lewis had impressed the Mariners, Allison said.

“His ability to adapt to professional ball, and still have that big, passionate smile,” Allison said. “He’s facing pitchers—you know it was different in college, they’ll pitch around the guy—but here he’s seen the most velocity he’s seen since he was on the (summer) Cape (Cod League). He’s been seeing all breaking balls, and he didn’t see a lot of that at Mercer, but he’s adapted to that well, and he’s controlling the zone, which is what we really preach. He was locked in, had some unselfish at-bats and was playing a real good center field.”

Some evaluators believe Lewis will eventually slide over to a corner after playing center field at Mercer, but he’s played center at Everett and Allison believes he’ll spend at least the first few years of his pro career there. While his aggressive swing can sometimes prevent him from getting out of the box well, Lewis is a strong runner underway, and showed impressive routes in the outfield as an amateur this spring.

“Absolutely. He’s a got a really good nose for the ball,” Allison said. “He showed us, in the time he was in Everett, that he’s young, athletic and has the desire to get better.”

Lewis was undrafted out of Shiloh High in Georgia but blossomed at Mercer. He was more of a role player for the Bears as a freshman, but his stock soared as a sophomore, when he swatted 17 home runs and batted .367. Lewis went to the Cape Cod League for the summer of 2015 and cemented himself as a first-rounder, showing power, arm strength and athleticism, and ranking as the No. 3 prospect in the league.

Director of amateur scouting Tom McNamara said the Mariners are “proud of” Lewis and expect him to return strong and praised his work ethic.

“He was literally the first player who signed,” McNamara said. “And we called him and said we’d love to have him out (to Seattle) and he was out there the next day. We invited him into the draft room and all of a sudden Kyle Lewis walked in and I introduced him to all the guys and it was awesome the way he handled himself.”

McNamara was at the game in which Lewis was hurt and said when he saw Lewis afterward he knew everything would be OK.

“He had a look on his face like, ‘I can’t wait to get out there.'”

McNamara said the throw home on the play in which Lewis was hurt was sailing and that the outcome could have been different.

“What if that throw was a foot higher? These kind of things drive you nuts,” he said.

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