Lee's first homer of spring a towering blast

'There's big power in there,' Servais says of Mariners' slugger

Lee's first homer of spring a towering blast

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Those curious how far Dae-Ho Lee could hit a baseball got their first clue Monday as the big slugger from Korea launched a mammoth home run in the eighth inning of the Mariners' 10-8 loss to the D-backs at Peoria Stadium.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Lee drove a 1-2 fastball from D-backs reliever Matt Reynolds high over the left-field fence, his first Cactus League home run coming in his fourth at-bat of the spring after signing a Minor League deal with the Mariners last month.

"That was an interesting at-bat," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "He fouls a ball off his knee, then hits the next pitch about 480 feet. There's big power in there. We know that. It was nice to see him get into one today."

Lee is competing for a spot as the Mariners' backup first baseman and designated hitter. The 33-year-old hit 31 home runs last year for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in Japan's Pacific League, where he played the past four years after 10 seasons in Korea.

Lee saw a steady diet of off-speed pitches Sunday when he went 0-for-2 with a walk against the Rangers. And he said he was expecting a two-strike changeup from Reynolds, but the 6-4, 240-pound D-backs pitcher -- who is coming back from Tommy John surgery in 2014 -- gave him an 85-mph fastball right in his wheelhouse.

"The fastball was kind of slow, but I hit it hard," Lee said through interpreter D.J. Park.

Lee didn't fare as well in the ninth when he came to the plate with two on and no out, down two runs, and grounded into a double play against Matt Capps.

"I feel more bad for that," said Lee.

Mariners sign Dae-Ho Lee

One of the big questions surrounding Lee is how he'll handle himself defensively, but he smoothly snared a line smash at his feet by Zach Borenstein, stepped on the bag and then fired to second for a double play of his own in the top of the ninth.

"He handled it very well," Servais said. "No panic. He's played a lot of baseball. He's had a lot of at-bats and been at first base a bunch. Step on the bag, easy throw, he did a nice job."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.