Mitch Haniger returns to Mariners, Abraham Toro optioned to AAA

Aug 6, 2022, 5:26 PM | Updated: Aug 7, 2022, 2:56 pm

Mariners Mitch Haniger...

Mitch Haniger rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

The Mariners have been searching for a more consistent offense and they’re getting someone back in the lineup who can help in that regard in outfielder Mitch Haniger.

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Haniger, who has not played for the Mariners since late-April, is back on the big league club for the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader after being activated from the 60-day injured list. To make room for Haniger on the 26-man MLB roster, utility man Abraham Toro was optioned to Tacoma. Seattle’s 40-man roster is now full.

Haniger is hitting third and playing in right field in his first game since April 29.

The slugging right fielder was instrumental in Seattle’s 90-win season a year ago, smacking 39 homers and driving in 100 runs, both career-highs for the now-31 year old. Haniger played just nine games this season as he had a long bout with COVID-19 in mid-April and in his first game back from illness, he rolled his ankle on a foul ball in his first plate appearance. Haniger slashed .200/.222/.486 with two home runs in those nine games this year, with one of those homers coming on opening day.

Haniger began a rehab assignment a few weeks ago, first with High-A Everett and then with Triple-A Tacoma. Between the two stops, Haniger slashed .267/.488/.567 in 11 games with three homers and eight RBIs. He also walked 10 times compared to five strikeouts and played both right field and DH.

The Mariners haven’t been as poor offensively as they were a year ago, but they do rank 22nd in runs scored and 25th in batting average this year. Haniger could certainly help in the run production department, which was where he shined for Seattle last year during their late-season playoff push. Haniger notably had a five-RBI game in the Mariners’ second-to-last game of the year, keeping their playoff hopes alive for another day.

As for Toro, the 25-year-old switch hitter has come up with some big hits for the Mariners, but has overall struggled in 2022, slashing just .180/.239/.322 in 84 games. Toro was acquired by Seattle at the 2021 trade deadline from the Houston Astros in a four-player deal.

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Mitch Haniger returns to Mariners, Abraham Toro optioned to AAA