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Mariners Julio Rodríguez
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Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez leaves winter ball early but healthy

Mariners prospect Julio Rodríguez had 56 at-bats in Dominican winter ball. (Getty)

The Escogido ballclub of the Dominican Winter League announced Monday that Mariners top prospect Julio Rodríguez has decided to leave winter ball.

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Rodríguez, 19, informed the club that he had made the decision to stop playing and begin training in preparation for the 2021 season.

The Mariners jumped at the opportunity to get Rodríguez at-bats in the winter league after both the minor league season was cancelled due to COVID-19 and he suffered a fractured bone in his wrist that cost him alternate camp opportunities. One of the youngest players in the league, Rodríguez finished his LIDOM (Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana) season with a slash line of .196/.250/.297 (.547 OPS) with six walks and 18 strikeouts in 56 at-bats.

While the line does not leap off the page, the experience could prove invaluable as Rodríguez was able to face a good amount of quality pitching, including a number of current and former big leaguers as well as a few prospects from other clubs. While not reflected in the line, by all reports Rodríguez continued to hit the ball hard as he did in instructional/development play in Arizona this fall.

Rodríguez did miss two games in late November with quadriceps discomfort but according to a club official is leaving winter ball healthy. The plan now for Rodríguez is to spend the holiday season at home in the DR and then return to Florida where he trained during the shutdown this year to continue his preparation for the season.

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