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KANSAS CITY, MO. – Irredeemable optimist that he is, Royce Lewis considers his doctor's diagnosis — that he probably won't play for the Twins again until mid-May or even June — to be good news: He won't miss the entire season.

"I wouldn't even call this long. It's not the knee, so we know it's not surgery," Lewis said Saturday, shortly after the Twins put their third baseman on the 10-day injured list and recalled prospect Austin Martin. "Not going under the knife is very important. This is a win."

It doesn't feel like it to the Twins, who will once again be without one of their most dynamic hitters for an extended time. But yes, it's better than missing an entire year after knee surgery, which Lewis, though still only 24, has done twice.

"It's really hard news to get. I mean, you feel terrible for Royce, having to deal with this after everything else he's gone through," manager Rocco Baldelli said. "You feel bad for the team as well. We got three innings out of him, and it was a pretty amazing contribution."

It was a first-inning home run, a third-inning line-drive single, and then, disaster. Lewis rounded second base after Carlos Correa doubled into the left-field corner and limped into third base. A magnetic resonance imaging test found "a significant strain" of the quad muscle in his right leg, Twins President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey said, an injury that will require a month's worth of rest before Lewis can even begin working out again.

"He's a unique healer. He seems to come back pretty quickly. He's already feeling better than he felt yesterday. He's very optimistic and that's the way we want to approach this," Falvey said. "It's going to be a few weeks to figure out how it's recovering. But it's significant enough that he needs some time to build back. We'll check back in a month, in terms of what the next few weeks after that look like."

Lewis will return to the Twin Cities after Sunday's series finale to connect with the Twins medical team. He said Dr. Chris Camp, the Twins medical director, had consulted with doctors who work in other sports like football and soccer to determine the best course of treatment. One thing he learned, Lewis said: It probably could not have been avoided.

"It's just part of the game. Truly, it's out of your hands," Lewis said. "You work as hard as you can for something, and it's taken away from you. I feel like I ran [the same way] I have all spring. I ran first-to-third plenty of times. It was nothing out of the usual, just a normal play. [It was] a freak deal."

One of way too many for the 2017 No. 1 overall draft pick.

"I've never had any injuries prior to being a professional," Lewis said with a shrug. "I don't know if it's the weather change or just me getting older, but maybe I'm too electric for my own good."

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Lewis was also excited, he said, for the opportunity his injury gave to Martin, whom he roomed with while both played for Team USA in a 14-and-under tournament in Mexico. Martin made his big-league debut in Saturday's 5-1 victory over the Royals as a pinch runner.

"For some reason, the coach didn't believe in us or something because he put us on the bench and told us straight-up, 'Yeah, you guys aren't going to be playing unless something happens,' " Lewis said. "Some guys struggled out of the gate, we were given a cool opportunity, and he didn't take us out of the lineup after that. That's why I trust in Austin fully. I can't wait to see what he does. He's going to do something special."

Just being called up to make his MLB debut is plenty special, Martin said.

"There's a lot of emotions. It was kind of crazy, kind of unexpected, given the circumstances," said Martin, 25, who was obtained from Toronto in the July 2021 trade for José Berríos. "I mean, I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to the day I get to touch the field and play. My only goal here is to try to help this ballclub win as many games as possible."

Martin is a second baseman and outfielder, so he won't replace Lewis directly. That job will go to Willi Castro and Kyle Farmer, Falvey said. Martin gives the Twins depth behind whoever is shifted to third base each day.

"He plays a really good outfield, and it's something that solidifies us a little more at second base. His ability to bounce around and play good defense is key," Falvey said. "And on the offensive side, he really found his identity again. He's kind of gone back and forth as to what he is as a hitter. We saw late in the season in St. Paul, he has the ability to put the bat on the ball. And he can run."