As Correa returns, Twins option 'electric' Lewis

May 18th, 2022

After news of ’ demotion to the Minors spread Tuesday night,  made sure to chat with his young teammate.

The message: See you back in the Majors soon.

“I did have a long talk with [Lewis], to make sure he goes to Triple-A with the right attitude, knowing that we have his back and that we want him to be part of what we’re building here,” Correa said Wednesday morning.

After missing 11 games with a bruised right middle finger, Correa was reinstated from the 10-day Injured List and batted third Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics. That move prompted the Twins to option Lewis to Triple-A St. Paul despite the lift he provided in his first taste of the big leagues.

The highly-touted prospect hit .308/.325/.564 with two homers and five RBIs over 11 games while holding down shortstop in Correa’s absence. There was speculation that perhaps club officials might keep Lewis in the Majors and find him at-bats at some other position. But Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said he wants the 22-year-old to play every day.

“For Royce and for us, he needs to keep playing,” Baldelli said. “He needs to play every day. He needs to continue to play shortstop. He needs to get himself out there and just continue to progress.”

Baldelli said Lewis will get his feet wet at other positions in the Minors, but he emphasized that Lewis remains a shortstop and will see the large majority of his time there.

Lewis’ demotion hit hard in the Twins’ clubhouse Tuesday night, with several teammates coming over to him to provide encouraging words.

“He’s been one of the best players on the field since he’s been up,” Correa said. “So yeah, it was sort of a surprise. He’s just been so electric, so good during this stretch with us. … We know he's going to be back here soon. He belongs here.”

Correa exited during the seventh inning of a 5-3 loss to the Orioles on May 5 after he was hit on the right middle finger by a pitch.

He is hitting .255/.320/.372 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 24 games this season.