Twins get good news on Royce Lewis after awkward somersault

MINNEAPOLIS -- Royce Lewis had a noticeable scrape on his forehead after providing a scare for the Minnesota Twins with an inadvertent somersault followed by a face-first landing.

He still managed a smile afterward, apparently unscathed. But he said he felt like he "ran into a car backward."

Lewis, who returned a week ago from his second ACL repair in his right knee, tried to tie the game by beating out a grounder to deep third in the eighth against the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday. He was thrown out to end the inning, but with first baseman Gabriel Arias in his path, he pulled up in an attempt to avoid a collision at the base.

"He just gets in your way last second. I really had nowhere to go," Lewis said.

Instead, Lewis went sailing over Arias and hit the dirt head-first, bending his neck awkwardly upon impact. After an examination by the Twins and a slow climb to his feet, Lewis walked off on his own power. The Twins lost to the Guardians 2-1, but they dodged a more damaging issue with a positive prognosis about their prized young player.

Lewis had a sore shoulder, but no concussion symptoms, manager Rocco Baldelli said.

"More just shaken up, and that's very fortunate for us," Baldelli said.

Lewis, who will turn 24 on Monday, said he was more discouraged by the loss than he was hurt by the fall.

"I'm going to be pretty sore for a day or so. It's nice that we have an off day tomorrow. I'll celebrate my birthday resting up," Lewis said.

Lewis had his 2022 season limited to 12 games after he collided with the wall while tracking a ball in center field and suffered his second ACL injury. He had a homer and four RBIs in his 2023 debut at Houston a week ago, and hit a tying two-run homer in a win over Cleveland on Thursday.

The Twins played on Sunday without three of their best hitters: Byron Buxton (ribs), Carlos Correa (foot) and Alex Kirilloff (illness). Joey Gallo (hamstring) just went on the injured list, too. They could use Lewis in the lineup when they start a three-game series at the major league-leading Tampa Bay Rays this week.

"It's hard for me to say what's going to happen on Tuesday, but the initial feedback was positive, so we'll take that for what it is," Baldelli said. "I was very pleased, because there were a lot of things we can imagine, watching that, that could've played out, and it looks like they didn't play out, so that's good."