By WCCO-TV Staff

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Minnesota Twins shortstop Royce Lewis, considered the organization’s top prospect, has a torn ACL in his right knee that will sideline him for the 2021 season.

President of baseball operations Derek Falvey said Wednesday that Lewis was diagnosed with the injury during physical exams upon reporting to spring training. The 21-year-old Lewis, the first overall pick in the 2017 amateur draft, will have reconstructive surgery Friday in Minnesota before returning to camp to begin a rehabilitation process of nine-to-12 months.

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Lewis, the 17th-best prospect in Major League Baseball’s 2021 pipeline rankings, finished the 2019 season at Double-A. Because the pandemic wiped out all minor league action in 2020, Lewis will go more than two full years without a game. The Twins signed Andrelton Simmons to play shortstop this season, and Lewis was not expected to be in the majors in 2021.

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Lewis told the team he first noticed discomfort in the knee after lateral running drills this month as part of his training regimen. Then, during the winter storms that recently hit Texas, Lewis slipped on ice in the Dallas area where he lives and experienced further soreness. The Twins were unable to determine exactly how or when the ligament was torn.

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“He’s got a smile on his face, knows he’s going to have a rehab year ahead, knows he’s going to have to put in a lot of work, but he’s prepared and ready to do that,” Falvey said, “and I know he’s looking forward to getting back on the field.”

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