LEXINGTON, Ky. — A key piece of Kentucky’s rotation will remain in 2018 as starter Justin Lewis announced his surprise decision to turn down an offer from the Tampa Bay Rays and return to school.
Lewis was drafted by Tampa Bay in the 11th round of the MLB Draft in mid-June. The redshirt sophomore held off on signing, but it was reported last week that Lewis was in Tampa Bay with the expectation that he would sign.
The lanky 6-foot-7 right-hander tweeted his decision on Thursday morning.
— Justin Lewis (@jlew21_) July 6, 2017
Lewis was Kentucky’s Sunday starter during the regular season and was also a part of the postseason rotation along with Sean Hjelle and Zack Thompson. Both Hjelle and Thompson are back next season as the three will form a strong rotation.
Starter Zach Logue, who was selected in the ninth round of June’s draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, is the only starter not returning for coach Nick Mingione’s Wildcats.
Lewis notched a 6-4 record with a 3.56 ERA in 2017. Opponents hit only .224 against him. Lewis and company led Kentucky to the best season in school history as the Wildcats advanced to their first-ever super regional.
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) July 6, 2017