The Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez bats during a spring game against the Dodgers on March 9, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez bats during a spring game against the Dodgers on March 9, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Prized M’s prospect Rodriguez out with fractured hand

The 18-year-old West Virginia outfielder will miss 4-6 weeks.

By Ryan Divish / The Seattle Times

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Julio Rodriguez’s rapid rise through the Seattle Mariners’ minor-league system has been sidetracked. No, it wasn’t the difficulty of jumping from the Dominican Summer League to Low-A West Virginia as an 18-year-old. He had a slash line of .355/.442/.452 with three doubles and three RBI in nine games.

Instead, it was a wayward fastball from Augusta Greenjackets right-hander Jake Wong on April 12 that put Rodriguez’s progression on standby. The ball struck Rodriguez on the left hand, producing a hairline fracture in his third metacarpal. Initial X-rays came back negative and Rodriguez’s return was day to day. But later tests revealed the fracture.

Rodriguez was officially placed on West Virginia’s 7-day injured list three days ago.

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said via text message that the organization is going to be careful with the injury. Hand and wrist injuries for position players can linger if not properly rested and healed. They will not rush Rodriguez back from the injury.

“We’ll be careful,” Dipoto said. “Expecting he’ll miss 4-6 weeks.”

Rodriguez is rated as the No. 5 overall prospect in the Mariners organization by both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. He has power, athleticism and oozes potential.

“Definitely a bummer,” Dipoto said. “But it shouldn’t be anything more than a small speed bump.”

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