With the 2020 minor-league season canceled due to the spread of COVID-19 and most of the intrasquad games at the alternate training site in Tacoma not as frequent or competitive as hoped, the Mariners will take advantage of the opportunity to have several of their minor-leaguers participate in a fall instructional league held in Arizona.

The instructional league will be the only fall baseball played in the Phoenix area with the announcement Tuesday that the annual Arizona Fall League, which features the top prospects in baseball playing in October and November, also has been canceled.

The Mariners announced their list of 40 players invited to participate in the instructional league and the organization’s high-performance camp, which had replaced instructional-league games in recent seasons. There isn’t a limit by MLB on the number of players invited.

The invited players will report to the team’s facility in Peoria, Arizona, on Thursday. The instructional fall league will feature a 24-game schedule with the Royals, Padres and Rangers over a six-week span and end Nov. 11. Games will be held four days a week with Mondays and Thursdays set for camp days and Sundays reserved as off days.

Julio Rodriguez, the Mariners’ top prospect and the No. 8 prospect in baseball per Baseball America, headlines the Seattle roster. The league will be Rodriguez’s first chance to play in games since fracturing his left wrist during Mariners’ summer camp workouts in July. Rodriguez dove awkwardly for a ball in a drill, jamming his glove into the ground.

Rodriguez remained active at the Mariners’ alternate training site in Tacoma even while his wrist was in a cast, taking one-handed swings and conditioning. He had the cast removed a few weeks ago and returned to baseball activities. The instructional league will be only a part of Rodriguez’s busy offseason as he tries to catch up from the missed time. He also has been cleared by the Mariners to play winter ball in the Dominican League. Rodriguez the was first choice of Leones Del Escogido last year and could play with shortstop Wander Franco of the Rays organization, who is the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball.

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“Julio, believe it or not, is the player I’m most confident we’ll get the most out of this offseason,” Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a video conference Monday. “He’s ready to go. He worked as hard as you can work. … He will play regularly through the course of the 20 games and all of the drills and so on. Right now, the plan is that when he’s done with that he’ll go off to winter ball and the Dominican Republic and play there if the league continues as is expected.”

The Mariners’ 40-player list features all six players selected in the 2020 amateur draft:

  • First round: Emerson Hancock, RHP
  • Second round: Zach DeLoach, OF
  • Second-round compensatory pick: Connor Phillips, RHP
  • Third round: Kaden Polcovich, IF
  • Fourth round: Tyler Keenan, 3B
  • Fifth round: Taylor Dollard, RHP

Of those six, four — Hancock, DeLoach, Polcovich and Keenan — were invited to summer camp and spent the past two months at the alternate training site in Tacoma. But Hancock was slowed by arm fatigue and didn’t get the work off the mound they had hoped. This is also a way for all six to experience the Mariners’ high-performance camp as well.

Other players on the 40-man invite list include catcher Cal Raleigh, right-hander Juan Then, infielder Noelvi Marte, outfielders Taylor Trammell and Alberto Rodriguez.

Phillips and Dollard were sent to the facility in North Carolina, where they joined other pitchers, such as Sam Carlson, Devin Sweet, Adam Macko, Michael Limoncelli and others to pitch and work out with minor-league pitching coach Sean McGrath.

Due to COVID-19 protocols, Mariners instructional league games and camp days will not be open to media or fans.

Instructional League Roster

Pitchers (23):

  • Jack Anderson, RHP
  • Dayeison Arias, RHP
  • Jarod Bayless, RHP
  • Matt Brash, RHP
  • Kristian Cardozo, RHP
  • Sam Carlson, RHP
  • Jose Corniell, LHP
  • Luis Curvello, RHP
  • Josias De Los Santos, RHP
  • Taylor Dollard, RHP
  • Tim Elliott, RHP
  • Nataneal Garabitos, RHP
  • Emerson Hancock, RHP
  • Michael Limoncelli, LHP
  • Adam Macok, LHP
  • Brendan McGuigan, RHP
  • Wyatt Mills, RHP
  • Connor Phillips, RHP
  • Logan Rinehart, RHP
  • Levi Stoudt, RHP
  • Devin Sweet, RHP
  • Juan Then, RHP

Catchers (4)

  • Jake Ancia
  • Carter Bins
  • Cal Raleigh
  • Matt Scheffler

Infielders (6)

  • Patrick Frick
  • Tyler Keenan
  • Noelvi Marte
  • Milikar Perez
  • Kaden Polcovich
  • Joe Rizzo

Outfielders (7)

  • Jonatan Clase
  • Zach DeLoach
  • George Feliz
  • Alberto Rodriguez
  • Julio Rodriguez
  • Dom Thompson-Williams
  • Taylor Trammell