That surgery came as quite a disappointment. Haniger missed a big chunk of the 2019 season owing to an exceedingly unfortunate injury to a sensitive area. He struggled thereafter to get back to full speed, but the hope had been that an offseason of rest would allow for a complete recovery.
Dipoto had said that Haniger was likely to require a six to eight week recovery period. But it now seems the Seattle GM is walking back any expectations for a clear timeline.
While he emphasized that the belief remains that the recent procedure “was successful,” Dipoto says the club won’t count on Haniger to return any particular point.
“We’re just fingers crossed,” says Dipoto. “We have no expectation on his timeline until we actually see him live [at Spring Training]. We’re not going to push him. Mitch will return at his own pace. Whether that is some time around Opening Day or sometime around the middle of the season, I have no idea.”
It isn’t clear whether some change in the outlook prompted Dipoto’s comments. Regardless, it’s a rough situation for player and team. Haniger, who is a .267/.348/.480 hitter through 1,499 career plate appearances, is (when at full health) one of the M’s most valuable players. He’s set to earn just north of $3MM this year through arbitration and remains under team control through 2022.