Lewis strains oblique at Twins camp

No. 5 overall prospect felt sharp pain while fielding grounder

Royce Lewis compiled a .803 OPS across two levels in his first full season in the Minors last year. (Brace Hemmelgarn/Twins)

By Chris Bumbaca / MiLB.com | February 23, 2019 8:55 PM

Royce Lewis was sidelined even before he could have his name written on the lineup card under the Twins logo. 

Participating in his first Major League Spring Training, the Twins' top prospect is out indefinitely to deal with a strained oblique muscle. Lewis suffered the injury while fielding a ground ball during team workouts on Friday, the eve of Minnesota's Grapefruit League opener.

MLB.com's No. 5 overall prospect reportedly ranged to his right from his usual shortstop position to field a grounder when the pain kicked in. 

"It just felt like someone was literally stabbing me in the side," he told reporters, adding that additional work in camp had left him feeling sore.

Video: Kernels' Lewis hits it out

Oblique injuries can linger, so the Twins are exercising caution in bringing the gem of their farm system back up to speed.

"We're going to be conservative, as you would probably guess. Take our time with that," new Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "That's something we're going to work through and we're not overly concerned as we sit here right now. It is something to take note of as we go forward."

Offseason MiLB include

After the Twins selected the 19-year-old with the first overall pick in the 2017 Draft, Lewis thrived in his first full Minor League campaign last year. He posted a .315/.368/.485 slash line with nine homers and 53 RBIs in 75 games with Class A Cedar Rapids to earn a promotion to Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Lewis spent the rest of the season in Florida State League, where he batted .255 with a .726 OPS in 46 games.

"He has met all the expectations we had for him as the No. 1 pick -- a guy that's going to put up numbers but also have an impact on our team and our organization beyond that," Twins vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff told MiLB.com in November. "Royce is going to be a young Major League player. His arc has not flattened in our outlook, and I don't think we're afraid to challenge him at all."

Chris Bumbaca is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @BOOMbaca. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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