In what has become an almost daily occurrence, outfielder Kyle Lewis hit another impressive home run.
After hitting a majestic homer off Austin Adams in live batting practice on Thursday, Lewis hit a pair of homers in Seattle’s first intrasquad game on Friday. Lewis didn’t participate in Saturday’s game, but returned to the lineup on Sunday and homered in his first at-bat.
Facing lefty Marco Gonzales, Lewis drove a fastball on the outside half well over the wall in dead-center for a two-run blast.
“I knew you were going to ask about him,” Gonzales said with a chuckle. “Let’s just say I’m glad he’s on my team, man. It’s been fun to watch. The kid is really something special. He’s got my early vote for rookie of the year. We are blessed to be able to face him. He’s really hot and he’s giving us real competition when we are on the mound.”
Lewis’ homer had teammate Taijuan Walker tweeting on social media about facing him in Monday’s intrasquad game.
“My guy is a beast 💪🏾💪🏾 Can’t wait to face him tomorrow @KLew_5”
Walker has twice gone into Servais’ office over the past few days, asking to face certain hitters in his intrasquad outing. Besides Lewis, Walker confirmed over Twitter that he also asked to face Jarred Kelenic and Evan White.
“Taijuan is leading the smack talking,” Servais said.
Lewis hit three homers in his first three games and six in his first 10 games during his September call-up in 2019.
His first homer during the first intrasquad game came on a fastball from Justin Dunn that was on the inner half of the plate. Lewis kept his hand and sent a rocket to left-center that smacked off the scoreboard above the Mariners’ bullpen. The second homer came off a backdoor curveball from lefty Nick Margevicius that Lewis muscled over the wall in right.
The homer off Gonzales easily cleared the wall in an area of T-Mobile where home runs are infrequent and earned.
“The thing that separates the guys with the real special talent is the ability to drive the ball to all fields,” Servais said. “And certainly in Kyle’s case hit it over the fence to any part of the ballpark. He doesn’t necessarily have to try to do too much. He’s just got to square it up and that’s what you’re seeing right now. I couldn’t be any happier for him. He’s off to a really good start. Both me and a few of the veterans have made a point to him is don’t hit them all now. Let’s wait till we start playing. But we’ll take it. Either way, he’s feeling really good up there.”
Bautista banged up
Right-hander Gerson Bautista, who left his relief appearance on Saturday with an apparent arm injury was scheduled to meet with Dr. Edward Khalfayan, the Mariners’ team orthopedist on Sunday.
After throwing a 101 mph fastball to Jose Marmolejos in a 0-2 count, Bautista’s next pitch was 94 mph. The following pitch was at 90 mph and Bautista appeared to be in discomfort, signaling toward the dugout and later pointing at his elbow and forearm area.
“We’re hopeful, it’s nothing too serious,” Servais said. “He had an issue, very similar to this a couple years ago he informed our trainers about when he was coming off the field. We’ll find out more after he sees the doctors today and probably some tests will be run from there. We’ll keep our fingers crossed we don’t lose him for too long.”
The Mariners’ third intrasquad game featured a new aspect to make it more like a real game — umpires. The organization has asked local MLB umpires Mike Muchlinski, Tripp Gibson and Quinn Wolcott to come in and work the intrasquad games. Muchlinski worked behind the plate on Sunday.
“Mike was pretty good back there,” Gonzales said. “Having those MLB (umps), it had a good feel. I was happy with the strike zone.”
In the previous games, Andy McKay, the team’s director of player development, served as the lone umpire, standing behind the pitcher’s mound and calling balls and strikes and ruling on plays in the field.
“I know Andy will be very happy to see those guys walking in,” Servais said. “It’s not an easy job and I applaud him for volunteering to do it.”