PHOENIX -- Kyle Lewis’ rehab plans -- and his potential return to the Mariners in 2021 -- have again been put on hold.
On Friday, manager Scott Servais shared that Lewis experienced “a little setback here over the last few days” with soreness in his injured right knee and isn’t yet ready to begin a Minor League rehab assignment as originally anticipated. It’s the second time this week that Lewis’ rehab has been pushed back.
Lewis, who underwent surgery to repair his torn right meniscus in June, had been aggressively running the bases and participating in sliding drills this past weekend, which had the Mariners hoping he could start a rehab stint on Monday. Instead, he ran the bases again Tuesday, but he still wasn’t ready to take the next step.
“We’ll just have to wait and see where that goes from there,” Servais said. “I think he was very optimistic here about six, seven days ago, but kind of with the turn of events here recently, I’m not sure what direction this points us in. We just have to wait and see.”
Servais said he hadn’t spoken with Lewis in the past few days, as he was hoping the outfielder “could kind of work through this one” and get his rehab started.
“I’m sure he’s frustrated by it and wanting to get back and try to get back on the field,” Servais added.
As the Mariners continue to battle in the American League Wild Card race -- they entered Friday’s series opener in Arizona four games back of the Red Sox for the second berth -- it would be a boost to get Lewis back in their lineup. After his stellar 2020 campaign, he was batting .246/.333/.392 with five homers and 11 RBIs in 36 games this season prior to the injury.
However, Servais reiterated that Lewis will only come back if he’s at “100 percent.”
“Just don’t go out there if you’re 60, 70 percent, it’s not good for him, he won’t be productive at the Major League level if he just tries to do that,” Servais added. “Only if he’s at 100 percent and feels good about it should he push the envelope on it.”
When Lewis gets to the point that he is ready to begin a rehab assignment, the plan is for him to start as a designated hitter so he can get at-bats. It’ll be a way to ease him back into action, considering he hasn’t played in a game since May 31.
Could Lewis be back in the big leagues in late September as strictly a DH, rather than playing the outfield, to accelerate his return?
“Until he gets to that level, it’s crazy for me to speculate what he could do or what he can’t do,” Servais said. “We’ll just have to wait until he gets to the point where he’s physically capable or feels good about going out and trying to get a few of those at-bats, and right now, he’s not there.”
Down on the farm
• High-A Everett third baseman Connor Hoover and Low-A Modesto outfielder Alberto Rodriguez were named the Mariners’ Minor League Players of the Month for August. Hoover batted .326/.441/.750 with nine home runs and 13 RBIs in 25 games last month. Rodriguez, Seattle’s No. 21 prospect per MLB Pipeline, batted .374/.432/.586 with three homers and 18 RBIS in 22 August games.
• Triple-A Tacoma right-hander Ryan Weber was named the Mariners’ Minor League Pitcher of the Month for August. He went 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA, 25 strikeouts and no walks over 26 innings spanning four starts last month.