Despite losing Royce Lewis to groin injury, Twins top Detroit for seventh win in 10 games

MINNEAPOLIS — Royce Lewis is concerned he’s headed for the injured list after another early exit, but the Minnesota Twins managed to get along well enough without him on Tuesday night.

Lewis is set to undergo an MRI and additional testing after he left Tuesday’s 5-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers with left groin tightness. The Twins star felt the injury running out a go-ahead, two-run double in the third inning of the team’s 21st comeback win and was removed from the game before the start of the sixth inning.

The Twins later rallied from a one-run deficit behind homers from Manny Margot and Carlos Correa with a mad dash around the bases from Byron Buxton mixed in between.

But after the team’s seventh win in 10 games, Lewis said he’s worried about his outlook.

“This is out of my control,” Lewis said. “So what I can control, I’m very happy about, but this is out of my control. I have no idea. But probably not very optimistic, to be honest with you. I’m praying, but it’s usually always horrible news. So we’ll see.”

At face value, Lewis’s statement doesn’t sound promising. But don’t go running for the hills just yet, Twins fans, at least not before considering the context from a player who missed 58 games between March and early June with a right quad strain.

Only two months ago, Lewis was upset with the way the Twins handled the end of his rehab assignment. In early May, Lewis thought the Twins acted overly cautious and cost him several weeks of games when he felt ready to return to action.

Lewis acknowledged he felt his groin tighten Tuesday night as he ran to second base on a two-out, two-run double off Detroit’s Tarik Skubal. He also knew exiting the contest was the proper move.

“When it got to the point of I couldn’t even run at 50 percent … I just wanted to make sure that our team had the best people in the game at the time,” Lewis said.

But with his history of long-term injuries and worries about the team perhaps babying him again, Lewis’s main concern is the Twins would once again err on the side of caution and put him back on the IL at a time when he wants to stay in the lineup.

For now, the Twins are waiting to make a determination. And while a 10-day stint on the IL certainly is a possibility, a team source didn’t believe Lewis would face an extended period sidelined as he did earlier this season.

“He just wasn’t moving the way that he needs to move in the game and it was just the smart thing to get him off the field,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We can go get him assessed now. I don’t have much else to add on that. We’ll see how he is. He had a big hit. Another important moment for him and for the team. He was a big part of us winning the game.”

Lewis understandably might assume the worst given he’s been on the IL four times since arriving in the majors in 2022, three of which were devastating injuries. Currently, he’s listed as day to day.

There’s hope Lewis could return to action with only a few days of rest.

Were the Twins concerned about Lewis suffering another devastating injury, either Brooks Lee or Edouard Julien would have been immediately removed from the Triple-A St. Paul Saints game across the river. However, as the Twins game ended with Jhoan Duran recording his 13th save, both Lee and Julien were on the field for the Saints.

Lewis has a reason to want to avoid the IL. While his double snapped a 2-for-25 stretch, he’s been on a heater since returning to the team on June 4 in New York, posting a .972 OPS in 95 plate appearances entering Tuesday.

The return of Lewis has helped rejuvenate the Twins offense, which provided middle-of-the-pack production over the team’s first 57 games. Through June 3, the Twins were 13th in OPS at .699, a point ahead of the major-league average .698 OPS at the time.

With Lewis, the Twins have been a juggernaut.

In the first 25 games after the return of Lewis, the Twins averaged 5.76 runs per contest. The team’s .829 OPS over that span ranked third in the majors.

Were Lewis, whose previous IL stints include injuries for a torn anterior cruciate ligament and hamstring and oblique strains, to require more than a few days rest, the Twins have a capable replacement waiting.

Earlier Tuesday, Lee belted his seventh home run of the season in 20 games played for St. Paul. Lee, who missed several months with a herniated disc to start the season, is hitting .329/.394/.635 with 21 RBIs in 94 plate appearances for the Saints.

Lee, who was invited to the All-Star Futures Game on Tuesday and is’s No. 13th-ranked prospect, could easily take over and play at multiple infield spots in Lewis’s stead.

But the Twins aren’t there yet.

“It’s still tight, you know,” Lewis said. “That’s all I have for you. I have no information. We’re waiting on MRI stuff.”

(Photo of Lewis: Alika Jenner / Getty Images)

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