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Back injury keeps Mitch Haniger out of Mariners’ lineup vs Padres

Sep 13, 2022, 2:43 PM | Updated: 3:30 pm

Mariners Mitch Haniger...

Mitch Hanige of the Seattle Mariners scores a run against the Chicago White Sox on September 05, 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

After taking two of three from the reigning World Series champion Atlanta Braves over the weekend, the Mariners host another National League playoff hopeful in the San Diego Padres starting Tuesday night.

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While it’s just a two-game series, Seattle will be without one of its biggest bats for at least the opener.

Starting right fielder Mitch Haniger, who missed nearly 100 games this season due first to a bout with COVID-19 and then a serious ankle injury, is out of the Mariners’ lineup Tuesday evening with a back injury.

Haniger, who got off to a very hot start after his return from the injured list, has struggled since smacking a walkoff single against the Cleveland Guardians on Aug. 26, hitting just .143 with no home runs and five RBIs in 14 games (56 at-bats) since. He left Sunday’s win over Atlanta with the back injury after three plate appearances.

Mariners skipper Scott Servais said during his weekly radio show on Seattle Sports 710 AM Tuesday afternoon that Haniger would be out with “a little bit of a back issue.” He also explained just how important it is for the Mariners to stay healthy for this final stretch run, which includes 22 games in 23 days to end the season.

“You’ve got to stay healthy, you know what I mean? And you really need to be taking advantage of all the assets that you have and all of the players that we have,” he said. “So keeping the guys healthy, keeping them going is probably at the top of the list for me.”

The Mariners have had two off days over the last week – both at home – which Servais called “great,” and after this two-game set with the Padres, Seattle has Thursday off. After that, though, is a 10-game road trip beginning Friday in Anaheim against the Angels. Following that final road trip of the year is one more off day before 10 games in nine days in Seattle to close out the season. The Mariners will even have a doubleheader in their final series of the year against the Detroit Tigers.

“So we need to keep them going. That’s the key,” Servais said. “There might be a day where somebody needs a blow, but we understand all these games are important. But if you’re not healthy, you can’t play, so we’ve got to keep our guys healthy.”

You can listen to the full Scott Servais Show, which airs live at 1 p.m. every Tuesday on Seattle Sports, in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

Mariners lineup vs. Padres

Julio Rodríguez, CF
Ty France, 1B
Eugenio Suárez, 3B
Carlos Santana, DH
Adam Frazier, 2B
Cal Raleigh, C
Jesse Winker, LF
Sam Haggerty, RF
J.P. Crawford, SS

Logan Gilbert, SP

Mariners Notes

• The Padres will roll out veteran right-hander Yu Darvish vs. Gilbert. Darvish, a five-time All-Star, has faced most of Seattle’s hitters, but those bats have had little success against him. Mariners hitters on the active roster have combined for just 15 hits in 98 at-bats (.153) against Darvish.

• France, who had Sunday off to rest a nagging wrist issue, is back in the lineup and playing first base.

• There’s been plenty of Geno talk of late in Seattle as Geno Smith led the Seahawks to a win on Monday and Eugenio “Geno” Suárez has been the Mariners’ best hitter of late. The slugging third baseman has five home runs in his last four games, including Sunday’s walkoff blast, as well as 12 in his last 26 games. He’s now top 35 in baseball in WAR, per ESPN, at 4.5, which trails only Julio Rodríguez for the team lead. But Suárez leads the Mariners in home runs with 30 and RBIs with 82.

“Geno has just been on fire. He has been so awesome,” Servais said Tuesday. “The power numbers he’s put up and the run he’s been on here lately, he’s been carrying us really over the last month and a half or so.”

• Logan Gilbert has also been on a tear, posting a 2.15 ERA over his last five starts and not allowing an earned run in two September outings. You can read more about Gilbert’s recent stretch in the link below.

For 2nd year in a row, Mariners’ Logan Gilbert surging at right time

Servais said Gilbert’s fastball command will be key on Tuesday, but a different-looking slider that he’s deployed in his most recent outings will also be in play.

“The thing that’s really stepped up his last couple outings is his slider has been better. He made a little bit of an adjustment to that, so he’s been getting a little bit more swing and miss on that, (added) a little bit more depth to it,” Servais said. “It’s something that he’s really excited about, as is his catcher (Cal Raleigh). I know Cal is really excited about what that pitch looks like too here recently. So that’s what’s going to need to happen tonight. Get ahead in the count and hopefully lean on that slider a little bit.”

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