Mariners notebook: Kyle Lewis turning heads as competition ramps up
The Mariners are progressing quickly toward the intrasquad games that will begin on Friday, the first of which will be broadcast live on 710 ESPN Seattle beginning at 2:30 p.m.
In watching live batting practice sessions the last couple of days and seeing the back and forth between pitchers, hitters and those looking on socially distanced in the dugout, it’s not too hard to see that it is time for a little competition.
“It was great to see the intensity that Taijuan Walker brought, and he was talking smack leading up to it with (Kyle) Seager and (Dee) Gordon,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said Wednesday morning. “Those things are good, it’s how you get the adrenaline going. It starts with the smack talking and it was fun to be a part of it yesterday.”
Servais had to be pleased with what he saw less than two hours later with the back and forth he saw during Austin Adams’ live BP. They had plenty to chirp about when Kyle Lewis, who has been one of the standouts at the plate since summer camp began, went opposite field on the first pitch of his second at-bat against Adams, letting his bat do all of the talking with a fantastic walk off after the swing.
A rude welcome back from Kyle Lewis who destroys the 1st pitch he sees from Adams. He knew it was gone. pic.twitter.com/nF4AdUNv3I
— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) July 8, 2020
“Dee’s talking trash and saying ‘That’s not a swing, he checked,’ on some of the sliders, just chirping and having fun,” said Adams. “Once Kyle hit that home run I looked at Dee and said it’s about time you guys got a ball in play.”
Adams, who was facing hitters for the first time since coming back from ACL surgery, actually looked sharp, striking out the first three hitters he faced including Lewis, who K’d on three pitches in his first at-bat. Grateful to be back on the mound, he was more than happy to tip his cap to Lewis.
“That was hit very far. I’m glad I don’t have to face that guy and that he is on my team,” Adams said.
Yusei Kikuchi threw in the morning session as well, looking like he hasn’t skipped a beat – which is most likely true as he was able to continue his throwing program throughout the shutdown while staying in the Scottsdale, Ariz., area.
Live batting practices will continue Thursday with just a small group allowed into camp. A half-day is scheduled ahead of the transition to intrasquad games.
• Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn will each throw two innings in the seven-inning intrasquad game Friday.
• Not that there was any surprise about this, but Servais confirmed that Marco Gonzales will be the Mariners’ opening day starter for their July 24 game at Houston.
• Jake Fraley cleared concussion protocol and was back on the field Wednesday and being hit in the back of the helmet Tuesday by a pitch from Gerson Bautista in live BP. “He hit me pretty square but the good Lord had his hand on me and I was fortunate enough to be OK,” Fraley said Wednesday afternoon on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Dave and Moore (interview in this podcast or the audio player below). “I went through the whole concussion protocol, passed everything and still feel fine. Everything ended up working out with that.”