ARLINGTON, Texas — The Mariners didn’t take batting practice before Saturday’s game at Globe Life Field, so Julio Rodriguez used that time to get on the field and practice for Monday’s Home Run Derby at Dodger Stadium.

With the help of assistant hitting coach Jarret DeHart doing the timing and counting of homers and first-base coach Kristopher Negron also monitoring, Rodriguez and Franmy Peña, who will pitch to Rodriguez, simulated the first-round format — three minutes with one 45-second timeout and a 60-second bonus time for a ball hit more than 440 feet per MLB Statcast.

Rodriguez simulated the four minutes because, well, he’s going to hit a ball more than 440 feet.


Using a custom-painted bat from Victus that is navy blue with teal writing all over it, Rodriguez pelted the left-field seats with ease.

“I think he’ll be fine,” assistant coach Carson Vitale said as he watched.


Per DeHart, Rodriguez took swings from Peña for just over a minute and a half and asked for a timeout. After the break, Rodriguez stepped back into the box and continued his assault on the basket of batting-practice balls, sending them into the upper deck in left field with ease.

At times it looked effortless, which is critical in the home run derby because fatigue often becomes a factor.

“I definitely got a little tired,” he said. “But it wasn’t too bad.”

After three minutes, Rodriguez took another break and went to the one-minute bonus round and continued to hit homers.

Peña, a former minor league infielder/catcher who played in the Rockies and Brewers organizations, is a trainer/scout in the Dominican Republic. He helped Rodriguez sign with his first academy as a 14-year-old, which is where the Mariners discovered him.

“He’s money as a thrower,” DeHart said. “It’s all about the thrower. And he just sort of flips them in there in the perfect spot.”


So how many homers did Rodriguez hit in the four-minute span?

“Thirty-seven,” DeHart replied with a grin.


That’s an absurd amount considering it was the first time Rodriguez attempted it.

“It wasn’t bad,” Rodriguez said.

Perusing the records under the new format, Vlad Guerrero Jr. hit 29 homers in the first round in 2019, receiving only a 30-second bonus. So his 29 homers came in 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Guerrero equaled 29 in the second round as well. When Joc Pederson matched him that round, the two men went to a one-minute tiebreaker. They each hit eight in that span. In the second tiebreaker, which was just three swings, they each hit one. And finally in the third tiebreaker, Guerrero hit two while Pederson only hit one.

Rodriguez’s first-round opponent, Corey Seager, who is also competing in the home run derby for the first time, did not have any special practice. Seager doesn’t take batting practice on the field before games, preferring to do his work in the cage.

Per Rangers media reports, Seager will have his father, Jeff, pitch to him. Jeff Seager was a familiar face at Mariners games, often traveling to watch his oldest son, Kyle, play throughout his 10-year career.

After Seager and Rodriguez homered in Friday’s game, is the score already 1-1?


“I’m ready to compete,” Rodriguez said with a grin postgame. “That’s all we do on this side.”

Santana returns from visiting house after fire

Carlos Santana returned to the Mariners on Saturday after a one-day absence. He was removed from the restricted list and returned to the active roster while infielder Kevin Padlo was sent back to Class AAA Tacoma.

While manager Scott Servais couldn’t disclose the details surrounding the absence on Friday, Santana posted a video on Instagram of his home in Florida in flames. He also posted some pictures of the damage.

The fire, which started because of lightning, started in his master bedroom and most of his personal belongings were destroyed.

“Everything is (burned) but this,” he said, holding a Bible. “This wasn’t.”


Thankfully for Santana, his family was at their home in Kansas City and wasn’t in any danger.

Following the Mariners’ win on Thursday, he received a call from his wife and agent about the fire. He immediately talked with Servais and left to check on the damage.

“It is just a game,” Servais said. “It’s our job and nobody’s more professional than Carlos but understanding what was going on with his home is certainly very scary. It’s heartbreaking any time you see that. Any time something like that happens, it takes a while to get it repaired.”

Lewis feeling ‘pretty good’ after playing outfield in Tacoma

Servais said the reports on Kyle Lewis playing outfield on his rehab stint have been positive. Lewis started in left field for Triple-A Tacoma on Friday night and hit a three-run homer. In eight combined rehab games between Tacoma and High-A Everett, Lewis has six hits, including five homers with 11 RBI, three walks and four strikeouts.

“He’s responding very well,” Servais said. “He’s getting accustomed to getting out in the outfield. The day after he plays the outfield he feels pretty, pretty good. So that’s all positive there. I’m hopeful at some point here after the break to get him back on our roster. The reports have been very good.”