Haniger went 1-for-2 with a run in the Mariners' 5-4 Cactus League win over the Padres on Sunday, his first game action since June 6, 2019. The veteran outfielder legged out an infield single in his first at-bat, immediately breaking the ice in his long-awaited return to action. Haniger admitted that plenty of nerves accompanied his excitement in getting back on the field and credited his recent productive batting-practice sessions with giving him some much-needed confidence. Manager Scott Servais opted to pull Haniger in the top of the fourth inning for Jarred Kelenic, and Daniel Kramer of MLB.com reports short games could be a common theme for Haniger early in the Cactus League schedule. Additionally, the 30-year-old could see some time at designated hitter as he acclimates back into game action.
Haniger hit several towering fly balls during Saturday's batting practice session, Daniel Kramer of MLB.com reports. Any positive news regarding Haniger is welcome at this point after how difficult the last 18-plus months have been on the outfielder from a health perspective. The veteran has been cleared for all activities during spring training after focusing heavily on improving body movement as opposed to building strength, and it's resulted in what he feels is an improved swing. Despite last having seen game action in June of 2019, Haniger opens spring training as the projected starter in right field, with Jake Fraley likely his primary competitor at the onset.
Haniger will be fully healthy for spring training, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports. General manager Jerry Dipoto called Haniger a "full go." It's possible there's some optimism there, but it's generally believable given that it's been quite some time since the outfielder's latest injury. Groin and back injuries cut his 2019 campaign short after just 63 games, while back surgery in February of 2020 kept him out for all of last season. Haniger could be quite a useful player if he's fully back to normal, as he's a career .267/.348/.480 hitter, but it's hard to have confidence in him staying healthy and productive all season given his long list of injury woes.
Haniger (back) has resumed full baseball activities, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports. Haniger sat out the 2020 season due to various injuries, but he avoided arbitration with the Mariners in early December and is expected to serve as the team's starting right fielder on Opening Day. Since he's resumed full baseball activities, Haniger is expected to be ready when position players report to spring training.
Haniger (back) signed a one-year, $3.01 million contract with the Mariners on Saturday, avoiding arbitration, Robert Murray of FanSided.com reports. Haniger is expected to begin the 2021 season as Seattle's starting right fielder. The 29-year-old missed the entire 2020 campaign due to a slew of injuries, but he's been effective over 350 major-league contests and should be a valuable asset for the Mariners and fantasy managers if he can return to form next year.