Mitch Haniger feels more comfortable this season back with Mariners

Mar 14, 2024, 12:46 AM | Updated: 10:21 am

Seattle Mariners Mitch Haniger...

Mitch Haniger of the Seattle Mariners celebrates a home run in 2022 against the Tigers. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Last season came with a lot of change for Mitch Haniger, who joined the San Francisco Giants in free agency after five years with the Seattle Mariners.

Mariners Notebook: Digging into impressive showing vs Dodgers

Even though Haniger returned to his native Bay Area in California, leaving the Mariners organization after spending almost his entire MLB career with the franchise was not easy. When he joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob at spring training in Arizona, he said the idea of coming back to Seattle at some point was hard to get out of his mind in 2023.

“I thought about it a lot last year. I had to try to stop myself from thinking about it,” Haniger said Tuesday. “Definitely missed Seattle and I thought, you know, maybe one day after this deal’s up I can go back to Seattle. I just was like, alright, let’s cross that bridge when that time comes and let’s stay focused on the next couple of years I’m going to be here in San Francisco.”

Fate stepped in, though. Just a little over a year after Haniger signed a three-year contract with the Giants, he was re-acquired by the Mariners in a trade on Jan. 5.

“Just kind of ironic how the trade went down. It was cool, I was super excited when I found out,” Haniger said.

Haniger, a one-time All-Star with the Mariners, didn’t have an easy time in his one year with the Giants. Injury limited him to just 61 games, and he finished the year with a .209/.266/.365 slash line for a .631 OPS, all career-low numbers for him.

Now back in a familiar setting with the Mariners, the 33-year-old Haniger said he feels much more comfortable as he gets ready for the 2024 season.

“It definitely felt weird switching teams, switching organizations. I just got used to how we ran things here,” he said. “I enjoyed it, had a great relationship with people on the staff, in the training room, my teammates. And then just having to restart everything (with the Giants), it’s definitely challenging. Hats off to the guys that it’s kind of seamless for them (when they change teams). For me, I felt like obviously I had a just terrible year last year with injuries and performance, and it’s good to be back. I feel much more comfortable here. I’ve always loved wearing the teal and blue, and it’s good to be back in the uniform.”

There’s one more reason Haniger feels more at ease this spring: he’s gotten more used to the pitch clock that was put into practice by MLB for the first time last year.

“This spring’s been good. Last year it was hard for me – I missed most of spring training last year and then kind of got thrown back into the fire quickly,” he said. “I didn’t like (the pitch clock) because it was something I had to think about where for 32 years, or however long I’ve been playing professionally – I don’t know, 10 years or so – you never have to think about it. So now it’s like a thought that you’re trying to get in …. It’s weird to (then) just let your mind go. But yeah, this year I just made it a point to be just quicker with everything I do and just stay with my breathing and make sure I’m calm. But I’m faster with it and I think it’s been going well. I feel comfortable.”

Listen to the full Wyman and Bob conversation with Seattle Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

More Seattle Mariners coverage

Mariners’ singular focus in 2024: ‘Let’s win the West’
Mariners’ Gregory Santos has setback, but may have avoided worse injury
Mariners Notebook: Good developments with Gilbert, Urías
Ryne Stanek shares his take on going from rival Astros to M’s
Who five of the Seattle Mariners’ biggest X-factors for 2024 are

Wyman & Bob

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
High 84° | Low 62°
No game today.

Wyman and Bob

Seattle Mariners closer Andrés Muñoz...

Zac Hereth

Sadler: How Mariners get best from bullpen arms

Ex-Seattle Mariners pitcher Casey Sadler explains why the communication and preparation from the organization is so effective in the bullpen.

4 days ago

Seattle Mariners J.P. Crawford Victor Robles...

SeattleSports.com Staff

Video: Mariners Breakdown – Is Seattle getting back on track?

Bob Stelton of Seattle Sports checks in to share his reaction to five Mariners questions after their two-game sweep in San Diego.

5 days ago

Seattle Mariners Julio Rodriguez San Francisco Giants 2023...

Cameron Van Til

A World Series winner can be the blueprint for Mariners

MLB insider Jon Morosi mentioned a World Series champion that could give a roadmap for how the Seattle Mariners can make a deep October run.

6 days ago

Seattle Mariners 2B Jorge Polanco...

Zac Hereth

How much longer does Mariners’ Jorge Polanco have for turnaround?

Seattle Sports' Dave Wyman and Mike Lefko discuss Jorge Polanco and the Seattle Mariners' second base situation on Wyman and Bob.

7 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Scott Huff UW Huskies 2021...

Cameron Van Til

Big Ray: What stands out about Seahawks’ new OL coach

Former NFL offensive lineman Ray Roberts explains how new Seattle Seahawks O-line coach Scott Huff is instilling a high attention to detail.

7 days ago

Jonathan India Cincinnati Reds Pittsburgh Pirates 2024...

Cameron Van Til

Mariners Trade Target: A hot-hitting infielder from the Reds

MLB Network insider Jon Morosi explained why Cincinnati Reds 2B Jonathan India could be a strong trade target for the Seattle Mariners.

8 days ago

Mitch Haniger feels more comfortable this season back with Mariners