Mariners’ Mitch Haniger likely to miss spring training due to core surgery
The injuries that derailed Mariners All-Star outfielder Mitch Haniger’s 2019 season were thought to be in the rear-view mirror. Unfortunately for Seattle, they’re not.
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said at the team’s pre-spring training press conference Thursday that Haniger had a setback in his recovery from a series of injuries last season that began with him suffering a ruptured testicle and included back issues that prevented him from returning before the end of the season.
Dipoto said the Mariners found Monday that Haniger has a core injury that likely will require surgery and prevent him from playing in spring training. Dipoto said the timetable for recovery is six to eight weeks and that the injury is “definitely” connected to Haniger’s injuries from 2019. It’s not expected that the injury will linger for the whole season following surgery, Dipoto said.
Haniger, who turned 29 last month, had a disappointing 2019 campaign, hitting .220 with a .778 OPS, 15 home runs and 32 RBIs in 63 games. He was an All-Star in 2018, a year in which he posted a .285 batting average, .859 OPS, 26 homers and 93 RBIs.
The Mariners acquired Haniger prior to the 2017 season, and he showed flashes of greatness that year but did struggle to stay on the field after suffering an oblique injury early in the year.
The good news for Seattle is it doesn’t lack for depth in the outfield, though Haniger has the most experience among the outfielders and has proven he can be the Mariners’ most productive player when healthy. Other outfielders on the current 40-man roster are Mallex Smith, Kyle Lewis, Jake Fraley and Braden Bishop. Infielders Shed Long, Dee Gordon and Tim Lopes could also be used in the outfield.