Drayer: Mariners’ White, Lewis provide fireworks, but Graveman shines in intrasquad game
The Mariners managed to pack a lot of good into 4 1/2 innings of intrasquad play Tuesday evening at T-Mobile Park.
You like fireworks? Evan White and Kyle Lewis happy to oblige.
White – after literally hitting a foul out of the ballpark earlier – shot a laser into the Mariners’ bullpen in his final at-bat.
Two batters later, Lewis launched a 98mph offering opposite field well into the right field seats.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) July 22, 2020
Both home runs came off Dan Altavilla, who had been solid in both spring and summer sessions.
“The guys really swung the bats tonight which was great,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “They said (White’s) foul ball went about 475 feet. Evan has had a really good camp starting down in Arizona but really comfortable right now, really confident. And Kyle Lewis, you can’t say enough about him. You don’t see very many right-handed hitters hit the ball like that in this ballpark and we’ve had some good ones here. We watched Nelson Cruz for a few years.”
There was more good from the offense with Kyle Seager, Austin Nola and Jose Marmolejos each recording two hits – Marmolejos also had an opposite field homer – but the star of the show was on the mound as Kendall Graveman continues to open eyes. Pitching four innings of one hit ball with eight strikeouts and just one walk against the lineup of younger players, the 29-year-old righty coming off Tommy John surgery was in complete command of his game and of the strike zone. While the sinkerballer has always been very good low in the strike zone, his recent addition of a four-seamer has given him even more coverage. If he can take what we have seen in Summer Camp into the regular season, the changes he has made could prove to be transformational.
“He’s opened up a new toy box and he’s got a lot of things to play with out on the mound,” Mariners pitching coach Pete Woodworth said earlier this week. “The way he can manipulate a baseball, make it move right, left, up and down. He has transformed and is evolving into – I don’t even know what we have. Something different than the past.”
Graveman was particularly good on the inside corner to lefties.
“We located it extremely well tonight,” he said. “It’s hard for guys. The equalizer is I am throwing the cutter off the same plane. Now that the other stuff is starting to show up, it’s making those pitches even better. It’s ultimately creating an ‘X’ to both sides of the plate, especially in to the lefty. It makes it difficult, you have to choose.”
The toy box, as his pitching coach called it, appears to be full. Next stop is his first big league game after missing almost two years.
“Heck, I teared up when I made my first (Arizona Fall League) game almost a year ago,” he said. “It’s just fun being out there being able to compete. I’m blessed, I’m privileged to be able to get out there and do it again. Not everybody has the opportunity coming off Tommy John surgery to get back healthy and feel right.”
Graveman is set to make his first start as a Mariner on Monday in Houston.