Mariners Injury Updates: Latest on Mitch Haniger, Kyle Lewis and more
The Mariners are struggling, and players missing due to injury are playing a significant part.
As the 14-18 M’s head out on a road trip that starts Friday in New York against the Mets, they’re missing their cleanup hitter, the Rookie of the Year from two seasons ago, their best catcher and a key veteran reliever. And those are just some of the players on the shorter versions of the multiple injured lists.
We received the latest news on a few of those players Thursday morning on Seattle Sports Station’s Jerry Dipoto Show, a weekly conversation with the Mariners general manager and president of baseball operations. There have also been updates throughout the week on others.
Here’s a look at what we know.
The biggest absence being felt by the Mariners now is that of Haniger, a 2018 All-Star who hit a career-high 39 homers to lead Seattle in 2021. He has played just 12 games this season, as he first was out of action due to COVID-19 in April, and his return was short-lived as he suffered a high-ankle sprain in his first plate appearance back on April 29 in Miami (he singled, at least).
A report by Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times earlier this week stated that Haniger could be out until July with the injury. On Thursday, Dipoto told Mike Salk that the Mariners “have not established a timeline” for Haniger’s return yet.
“We’re just taking it day by day,” he said, “and we’ve been purposeful with that. It’s a very difficult injury to predict. … A high-ankle sprain can be anything from three weeks to three months, and it’s unfortunate. Each one is going to behave in a different way so we’re loath to place a timeline on it because you just don’t know.”
The status of the injury to Haniger, who is 7 for 35 (.200) with three home runs, seven RBIs and a walk this season, is at least moving in the right direction, according to Dipoto.
“What I will say about Mitch is that he feels a little better every day, and if it’s improving every day and we can see the progress being made, it gives you hope,” Dipoto said. “But at the end of the day, I couldn’t tell you whether it’s going to be another month or two months. I have no earthly idea. We’re just going to have to play it out day by day and hope he continues to report feeling better.”
If there’s a silver lining to Haniger missing time, it should at least make it easier for the Mariners to play Lewis when he’s ready. Lewis, the American League Rookie of the Year in 2020, missed most of last season with a torn meniscus in his right knee that he had surgically repaired. It was the second time an injury to that same knee required reconstructive surgery in his pro career, and Seattle has understandably taken things slow with him in his recovery this time around.
Entering Thursday, Lewis had played five games in his rehab stint with Triple-A Tacoma, and he’s tearing the cover off the ball when in the lineup. He’s 7 for 20 with two homers, a double, six RBIs, two walks and just two strikeouts, playing four games at designated hitter and one in left field.
♦️ Tough L, but multiple RBI from Souza (4, 2 2B, HR), Walton (2B, 3B, HR), Lewis (HR) & Wall; Green was 4-for-6 (2B, HR, 3 R)
♦️ Season-high 16 H (tied), 10 XBH, 5 2B, 4 HR (tied)
♦️ K-Lew's 2nd HR
— Tacoma Rainiers (@RainiersLand) May 8, 2022
That last fact is something that stands out as an indication of how Lewis felt after playing his one game in the field.
“It’s been, as has often been the case with Kyle, a bit mercurial,” Dipoto said. “You know, lots of highlights – he’s swinging the bat very, very well. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been as easy for him to bounce back after a day of playing defense, but we’re making progress. He should be out there again tonight and hopefully for the next three, and then we’ll reassess where we are as we get through the weekend with the Mets.”
There is a chance Lewis could join the Mariners at some point on their upcoming road trip, which goes from Friday through Sunday, May 22.
“He will not be with us to begin our series in New York, but I think once we move past that, if all goes well, he is in the discussion for one of the solutions that can help us get a little deeper,” Dipoto said. “He’s getting close and it’s a matter now of how he bounces back from his days on the field. From a playing perspective, he’s been quite good.”
Of all of Seattle’s injuries, none felt more of the “when it rains, it pours” variety than Murphy’s. The veteran catcher suffered a dislocated left shoulder on May 6, and the struggling Mariners offense could ill afford to lose his bat. Murphy owns a .303/.439/.455 slash line for an .894 OPS in 14 games.
Before the Mariners’ series finale against the Phillies on Wednesday, manager Scott Servais said Murphy would “probably travel” with the team on their road trip in the hopes of coming back quickly from the 10-day IL even though the injury won’t be healed any time soon. The good news is that it’s not his throwing shoulder, so it won’t impact his ability to throw out runners from behind the plate.
“Maybe if everything goes great he could be with us here by the end of the trip, but we’ll have to wait and see. No timeline on him,” Servais said. “It’s happened before. … Anytime your shoulder comes out of joint it’s probably not going to be clean, but it’s something that he’s gonna have to figure out how to manage and figure out a way to get back on the field.”
The veteran right-handed reliever, like Lewis, was on a rehab assignment in Triple-A playing with the Rainiers. He made a one-inning appearance on Tuesday, allowing a solo homer but no other baserunners while recording a strikeout, and it appears his return is imminent.
“Sergio will be on the plane with us. That’s what I understand,” Servais said Wednesday. “We’ll obviously have a day off (Thursday) and we’ll see where we’re at staff-wise and what the move might be.”
Romo landed on the IL in mid-April with shoulder inflammation after two scoreless appearances for the Mariners.