Kyle Lewis Regains Trust In Injured Knee

After a rocky first few years as a professional, the Mariners are hopeful 2019 is the year they finally see Kyle Lewis play to his full potential.

The Mariners say he’s ready to put two knee procedures behind him and take the leap they’ve been hoping he would take ever since they drafted the outfielder 11th overall in 2016 out of Mercer. But for the 23-year-old Lewis it’s either leap or potentially get lost behind what is now a well of outfield prospects.

“He’s missed so much time,” Mariners farm director Andy McKay said. “But we feel better today than we’ve ever felt with his work and his progress. “Most of us who have been around Kyle, we really don’t have a lot of concern about the ability. It’s the health.”

He’s healthy enough now that he earned an invitation to big league camp spring training.

Lewis first suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and tore his medial and lateral meniscus in a collision at home plate during his first professional season in 2016. He returned in 2017 only to slam his surgically repaired knee into the outfield wall  in his first game back.

He missed the start of 2018 after surgery to clean up some of the lingering issues with his knee, so this offseason is the first time Lewis will be entering spring healthy.

The Mariners also this offseason added outfielder Braden Bishop to their 40-man roster, have raved about 18-year-old Dominican outfielder Julio Rodriguez and stocked up on other outfield prospects in trades, acquiring Jarred Kelenic (Mets), Jake Fraley (Rays) and Dom Thompson-Williams (Yankees).

“Kyle was arguably the best player in that (2016) draft,” McKay said. “When you have injuries like this, it’s just time. That’s all it is. You’re waiting for the body to heal, but you’re also waiting for the mind to heal and that’s part of getting over that injury and trusting it.

“But I’ve seen him run down balls in center field where you go, ‘OK, we’re good.’ I’ve seen him run out of the box and I’ve seen the power. It’s all there.” 

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