EVERETT — The worst fears of the Seattle Mariners and Everett AquaSox were realized Wednesday when an MRI revealed that 2016 first-round draft pick Kyle Lewis suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in addition to a torn medial and lateral meniscus in his right knee.
The Mariners issued a press release confirming the news Wednesday afternoon. Lewis will miss the rest of the season.
The injury occurred during a collision between Lewis and Tri-City catcher Chris Mattison in the AquaSox’s 8-6 loss to the Dust Devils Tuesday afternoon at Everett Memorial Stadium.
Lewis, whom the Mariners selected No. 11 overall out of Mercer University in Georgia, was back in the clubhouse with his teammates Wednesday after the MRI while on crutches and sporting a brace on his injured right knee.
“It was definitely a different experience, especially for being on such a weird play like that where I’m kind of trying to stop, and hurting it trying to slow down rather than running full speed,” said Lewis, who spent several minutes on the ground in pain before hobbling off the field, partially on his own.
The injury happened in the seventh inning when Lewis attempted to score from second base on an RBI single by Nick Thurman. The throw from right field was up the line and brought Mattison into the base path.
“I saw the catcher and didn’t want to just smash into him going full speed,” Lewis said. “I wanted to be able to control what was going on. I didn’t want to have a head-on collision with the guy so I tried to slow down, and when I tried to slow down and plant the knee just kind of buckled under me. One of those (things) that happens.”
After a slow start to the Northwest League season the 6-foot-4, 210-pound center-fielder caught fire. He was hitting .299/.385/.530 with three home runs, five triples, eight doubles, 26 RBI and a .915 OPS. He was named the Northwest League Player of the Week for the week ending July 10.
“He’s been a leader on and off the field,” Everett manager Rob Mummau said. “He’s been fantastic with doing his work and being here early, with the fans and signing autographs. You name it. He’s been fantastic.”
Lewis said there was no timetable yet for surgery, but is anxious to get started.
“I’m just going to get to work on the rehab process,” Lewis said. “I’m just going to get going, get mobility back and hopefully get into surgery and get going on rehab as fast as possible and go from there.”
Grebeck gets start in center
Austin Grebeck figures to see the bulk of the playing time in center field now that Lewis is done for the year.
Grebeck was in the lineup Wednesday after missing the past two games while recovering from being hit by a pitch in the shoulder during Saturday’s game at Hillsboro.
“They were just playing it safe. I was pretty sore,” Grebeck said. “I feel good now and I’m ready to go.”
The son of former major leaguer Craig Grebeck, Austin is hitting .167/.247/.214 with four doubles and four RBI in 84 at-bats. He was the Mariners’ 21st-round selection in this year’s draft out of the University of Oregon.
AquaSox make roster moves
Catcher Ray Guerrini was optioned to the Peoria Mariners of the Arizona League prior to Wednesday’s game while fellow catcher Jason Goldstein was called up to Everett from Peoria. Guerrini, an undrafted free agent from West Virginia University, was hitting .250/.382/.286 with a double and one RBI in 28 at-bats for the AquaSox.
Goldstein was hitting .400/.400/.400 with an RBI in 10 at-bats with Peoria. Goldstein was the Mariners’ ninth-round pick out of Illinois in this year’s draft.
For the latest AquaSox news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter @jessegeleynse.