The Mariners have re-started the baseball activities of injured outfielder Mitch Haniger, manager Scott Servais told reporters including MLB.com’s Greg Johns (Twitter link). Doctors gave him the go-ahead to start some light catch and hitting.
Servais certain did not indicate that Haniger is now on a fast track back. “He still has some issues and is feeling some pain on certain days,” says Servais, “so we have to be careful how fast we go with him.”
It’s obviously disappointing to see the 28-year-old sidelined in this manner, particularly with so little else for the Mariners to cheer for at the moment. But with the M’s well out of contention, Haniger is clearly the one suffering the most. Beyond the physical and mental toll, his ongoing absence has sapped his earning power heading into his first year of arbitration eligibility. He’ll not only command less as an arb-1 player, but will establish a much lower starting point to build off of in the two ensuing years.
It seems there’s still at least some hope that Haniger can make it back to the majors this season. He will surely need to build himself up a bit physically and get comfortable again at game speed. Still, as a position player, Haniger shouldn’t require an especially extensive rehab stint — if and when he’s able to get fully past the pain.