PHOENIX – All-Star left fielder Corbin Carroll swung the bat and immediately reached for his right shoulder before heading to the dugout in pain Thursday as the Chase Field crowd held its collective breath.
Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo told reporters Carroll is dealing with “discomfort” and an MRI is scheduled for Friday with no set timetable for his return.
“How much longer? I don’t know. I don’t know that answer. I don’t know how many games he will miss. I don’t know if he’s going to go on the IL. I don’t know any of that stuff,” Lovullo said. “But we’ll get a clearer picture on that (Friday) as to what the schedule will be moving forward.”
This doesn't look good.
Corbin Carroll leaves the game in visible pain after a swing. pic.twitter.com/UbraB4y5ua
— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) July 7, 2023
Enter Kyle Lewis.
The right-handed power hitter replaced Caroll in the seventh inning and flied out in his both of his at-bats, but the Diamondbacks may lean more heavily on his services with the team riding a four-game skid entering their weekend series against the Pittsburgh Pirates with a half-game lead for first place in the NL West.
Lewis was traded this offseason to the Diamondbacks for Cooper Hummel after six seasons with the Seattle Mariners. He came into spring training healthy and looking to make an impact on a left-handed heavy Diamondbacks outfield.
“He was electric in spring training and as good as anybody we saw,” Diamondbacks hitting coach Joe Mather said. “Once the season started, we had a lot of good hitters and the matchups are what they were, so he was only playing about half the time before the injury.”
The injury was an undisclosed illness that sent Lewis to the 10-day IL on April 8 for 45 days. He was sent to the Reno Aces on a rehab assignment on May 23 and would remain there until the Diamondbacks recalled him on June 30.
“This illness required a different approach, as I had to rest more and couldn’t be proactive,” Lewis said. “It was weird and it felt like some of the things were really hard to control, so it gave me a different perspective.”
The former 2020 American League Rookie of the Year has dealt with plenty of adversity in his career. Lewis, the No. 11 pick in the 2016 MLB draft, played just 30 games in the minors before tearing his ACL, medial and lateral meniscus to start a laundry list of injuries he would endure.
The knee ailment lingered for the next three seasons until the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, when he hit .262 with 11 home runs and 28 RBIs in 58 of 60 games. The durability wouldn’t last, however.
Lewis has landed on the injured list in every season since. In his final two seasons in Seattle, he appeared in 54 of 364 games before the trade to Arizona. Last season, in a bad stroke of luck, Lewis was hit behind the ear by a 77-mph wayward slider from Houston Astros starter Jose Urquidy and diagnosed with a concussion that cost him the next 46 games.
“The ball hit me directly and had a good impact,” Lewis said. “It took me a long time to not be sensitive to both light and sound. I had to do vision training where I had to focus on moving objects on a string, walk back and forth with moving objects and had to wear glasses to limit the light while watching TV.”
Lovullo knew Lewis needed time to regain full strength. In his time in Reno, Lewis performed well while slashing .308/.402/.548 and had an OPS of .950, his highest ever in the minors.
Lewis has had only 11 at-bats since being recalled but he stands to receive more time at the plate with Carroll’s injury. This season, he is batting .138 in 29 at-bats with one home run and 11 strikeouts but looks to find his groove and put the injuries behind him.
“I think my value lies in being a big bat and trying to get extra-base hits and drive in runs for the team,” Lewis said. “My body feels great, I am really happy with where I am at and I am good to go.”