Mariners prospect Julio Rodriguez pays tribute to Dominican Republic
Prospects Julio Rodriguez and Jasson Dominguez paid tribute to Dominican at Futures Game
DENVER – Admittedly, it’s difficult these days for Julio Rodriguez not to envision himself playing in the Seattle Mariners’ outfield. The young outfielder from the northwest corner of the Dominican Republic is optimistic about the big league club’s ascent this season, and he’s eager to help.
Rodriguez is progressing so well, his parents Julio Sr. and Jasmin finally watched him play in the United States. His parents flew in from the Dominican Republic to watch him play in the 2021 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Coors Field.
“This is the first time they watch me play,” he said, “so I’m going to try to play my best.”
Rodriguez, 20, has one eye on the majors and another on the Olympics. He was 0-for-3 with a walk as the starting right fielder for the American League in the Futures Game. He then headed back to Arkansas to join the Mariners’ Class AA affiliate.
Rodriguez wore his pride for his island onto the field. His purple cleats were painted at the back in the Dominican flag’s red, white and blue with the island’s flag’s white cross in the center. Loma de Cabrera, his hometown, was written in gold script along the shoe’s instep.
Julio Rodriguez represents
He and Yankees prospect Jasson Dominguez paid tribute to their island during the game. Dominguez wore an arm sleeve with the Dominican flag on his right arm.
“It’s very important (to represent the Dominican),” said Dominguez, an 18-year-old phenom. “It’s my country, my flag. It’s the best.”
Rodriguez had a similar sentiment when asked about his special cleats.
“I’m Dominican, man,” he said. “I gotta represent.”
Rodriguez is definitely representing this summer. He donned the Dominican Republic jersey in June while helping the DR qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
Rodriguez crushed a pair of home runs in a 13-3 victory over Nicaragua during the final Olympic qualifying tournament. He hit .325 with six home runs and 21 RBIs over 28 games at Class A Everett with a .410 on-base percentage and .992 OPS.
Rodriguez has one home run and four RBIs over 10 games at Class AA Arkansas. He was set to fly to Little Rock after the Futures Game to join the Travelers for a few games before traveling to Tokyo for the Olympics.
“Definitely pretty excited,” he said. “Not everybody gets a chance to be there. I know a lot of people from different countries want to have that chance. The fact that I have it, I’m honored for that.”
A year after the COVID pandemic shut down the baseball minor leagues, Rodriguez has been busy playing ball. He has already played at CLass A, Class AA, Olympic qualifiers and the Futures Game.
Japan on the schedules
Barring injury or a promotion to the majors, he’ll add Japan’s Yokohama Stadium to his list of ballparks later this summer.
“It’s been a pretty good, enjoyable year,” he says. “I think to be able to go to different places and play different ball it’s been pretty fun.”
Rodriguez appears on track to reach the majors at some point over the next year. The Olympics are merely going to be the biggest stage yet. He’ll have the Dominican Republic flag on his helmet, uniform and soul there.
“It was good because I’m from Loma de Cabrera, like the corner of the country,” he said. “And by being able to represent the whole country it’s a really special moment.”
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