An exciting AFL season looms

Among the good things about spending the off-season in Tucson (sunny days are nice) is the proximity to the Arizona Fall League.

A two-hour drive to the Phoenix area is a piece of cake and the AFL promises to be full of good stories this year. The Mariners are sending seven of their top Minor League prospects to the Peoria Javelinas and each one has their own interesting story to tell.

I am looking forward to seeing Dustin Ackley play in a game, seeing how right-handers Phillippe Aumont and Josh Fields perform in relief and also get re-acquainted with infielder Carlos Truinfel, who suffered a broken leg the first week of the regular season at Double-A West Tennessee, and young pitchers Nick Hill — the former Army Cadet — Anthony Varvarro and outfielder Joseph Dunigan.

Fans living in Mariner Nation could do a lot worse than take a quick trip to the Valley of the Sun and check out the next generation of Mariners. Crowds are small, the weather is great and most games are played at night, which leaves most of the day for such things as golf.

For further info on the Arizona Fall League, which begins its 18th season on Oct. 13, check out the AFL homepage via MLB.com.

Speaking of Ackely, he makes his Mariners’ “debut” on Monday afternoon when he works out with the team at Safeco Field. It would be a nice gesture if the organization opens the gates a little earlier than usual so fans could watch the new kid on the block get take BP. Just a thought.

From what I have been told, Ackley probably will be held back for the final group of hitters, which begin their BP at 5:15. Gates open at 5:05, meaning fans can watch Ackley’s first swings as a pro.

— Jim Street

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