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How hot is Kyle Lewis? 2 scrimmages, 3 HRs

@gregjohnsmlb
July 12, 2020

SEATTLE -- How hot is Kyle Lewis? Marco Gonzales has seen enough of his young teammate to nominate him for early Rookie of the Year consideration. And who is to argue after Lewis unleashed his third home run in his first two intrasquad games at Mariners Summer Camp. The 24-year-old

SEATTLE -- How hot is Kyle Lewis? Marco Gonzales has seen enough of his young teammate to nominate him for early Rookie of the Year consideration. And who is to argue after Lewis unleashed his third home run in his first two intrasquad games at Mariners Summer Camp.

The 24-year-old drove a home run over the 401-foot center-field fence at T-Mobile Park off Gonzales -- who’ll be the Mariners’ Opening Day starter on July 24 in Houston -- and also drew a walk in Sunday’s abbreviated three-inning scrimmage.

That puts Lewis at 3-for-3 with three home runs and two walks in five plate appearances since Seattle began intrasquad action on Friday. The power is no fluke as the 2016 first-round Draft pick set an MLB record by hitting six homers in his first 10 games as a September callup last year.

Rookie Lewis stands tall in center field

Lewis played primarily right field in his 18 games with Seattle after making the jump from Double-Arkansas, but he has been in center his first two intrasquad games with Mallex Smith still not in camp. Lewis drove an elevated fastball from Gonzales over the wall for a two-run shot in the first, and his three homers in his first two scrimmages have been to left, center and right-center.

“I’m glad he’s on my team,” Gonzales said. “This has been fun to watch. The kid is really something special. He’s got my early vote for Rookie of the Year. We’re blessed to be able to face him right now because he’s hot, and he’s giving us some real competition on the mound.”

Clock ticking toward Opening Day
Time is short for pitchers, as Gonzales only will have one more intrasquad start before lining up for Opening Day in Houston. He allowed two hits and two runs with two walks and four strikeouts in his two innings on Sunday and said it was good just be back in action after the lengthy layoff.

“It felt great,” Gonzales said. “Just very, very blessed to be able to back out here again. It felt amazing to be out on the field and on the mound. It’s a little different without anybody in the stands, but it’s still a great feeling.”

The 28-year-old said he’s “as ready as I’m going to be” after working hard during the down time to stay prepared, but will use these outings to fine-tune and keep building his pitch count up.

“A little bit of timing things here and there,” he said. “Some kinks to work out. But, overall, it felt good with the fastball, and I located most of my pitches. It just felt good to compete again in a game-like situation.”

Bautista awaiting test results
Hard-throwing right-handed reliever Gerson Bautista was examined by Mariners team physician Ed Khalfayan on Sunday and is awaiting results of tests on his right arm after his outing was cut short in Saturday’s intrasquad game.

Bautista struck out Kaden Polcovich and gave up an infield single to Jake Fraley after entering in the fifth inning, then the righty hit 101 and 98 mph on fastballs to Jose Marmolejos. But his next offering dipped to 94 mph and head athletic trainer Rob Nodine hustled to the mound, where Bautista pointed to his right forearm or elbow before being taken off the field.

“We’re hopeful it's nothing too serious,” manager Scott Servais said Sunday morning. “He had an issue very similar to this a couple years ago. He informed our trainers coming off the field. We'll find out more after the doctor's visit today and probably some tests will be run from there. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed we don't lose him for too long.”

Bautista, 25, was one of five players acquired from the Mets in the Robinson Canó/Edwin Díaz trade prior to the 2019 season. He spent two months on the 60-day injured list last year after straining his right pectoral muscle in Spring Training, then pitched 34 games -- including eight with the Mariners -- after a midseason return.

Short takes from T-Mobile Park
• Outfielder Jarred Kelenic, the Mariners’ No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, hit a double off Isaiah Campbell in his lone at-bat Sunday on a ball that hopped just over a diving attempt by first baseman Evan White.

• Taijuan Walker will make his first intrasquad start on Monday when the Mariners split up again for a 2:45 p.m. PT scrimmage. Walker, making his comeback from 2018 Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to pitch two innings.

• Monday’s seven-inning game will be streamed live on the Mariners’ YouTube and Twitch outlets with video only. The Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday games will be streamed on YouTube and Twitch with video and announcers calling the action. There’ll be no intrasquad action on Friday as that’s the team’s lone off-day prior to Opening Day.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.