The Seattle Mariners expect former American League rookie of the year Kyle Lewis to be a full participant when spring training begins, general manager Jerry Dipoto said Friday.
Lewis, who won rookie of the year in the shortened 2020 season, played in just 36 games last season due to continued problems with his right knee. Lewis underwent surgery for a torn meniscus and then had a setback in his recovery that eventually led to Seattle shutting him down for the season in early September.
"We're really excited about where Kyle Lewis is right now just based on the feedback he's provided, what we learned from his rehab professionals, and what we've seen on video of his baseball workouts," Dipoto said. "He appears to be full go and ready to play."
Lewis was a breakout star for Seattle during the shortened 2020 season, hitting .262 with 11 home runs and playing nearly every day in center field. There's been concern that his knee issues would limit his ability to be an everyday center fielder and Dipoto said Lewis will likely be rotated in at designated hitter, especially with the emergence of Jarred Kelenic as a center field option last season.
"Finding the way to get players on the field and maximize their chances without overwhelming them with defensive reps, we found that to be a really positive thing that came out of our 2021 season. And we want to continue with that model," Dipoto said.
Seattle is expected to be a contender in the AL West coming off a surprising 90-win season. Dipoto joked he's "ready to transact" in the coming days as he is looking for an additional left-handed bat for the lineup and another flexible starter.
"I suspect that there's going to be a host of free agents who would like to sign and get into camps, and that there are teams that want to determine what their roster is going to look like," Dipoto said. "So, does that expedite matters? I don't know the answer. But we're ready to move at the pace that the market moves."