Mitch Haniger has undergone two surgeries in the past several weeks — core surgery and a microdiscectomy — and while there’s no clear timetable on his return to the diamond, the Mariners’ right fielder offered some additional context on his injury today while speaking to reporters. MLB.com’s Greg Johns tweets that Haniger can’t do any lifting or much activity at all for the first month following the microdiscectomy on his back. Haniger fully expects to play in 2020, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, but he’s limited to walking as his only means of exercise at the moment.
Suffice it to say, that’s not a great outlook and doesn’t bode well for a return in the early portion of the 2020 season. After that initial month has elapsed, Haniger will surely need to build up some strength before returning to full baseball activities, and he will of course need an eventual minor league rehab assignment to get up to game speed.
The level of escalation in Haniger’s injury troubles has been stark. The 29-year-old (28 at the time) sustained a ruptured testicle when he fouled a ball into himself last June. That alone is gruesome enough, but Haniger revealed today that he tore the adductor muscle attachment last summer while rehabbing that injury (Twitter link via Divish). That issue went undiagnosed, leading to the herniated disc in his back and the microdiscectomy that is now limiting him to a walking regimen. (Haniger also provided Divish with a more … colorful? … description of the injury, courtesy of his surgeon.)
That sequence of events — particularly the lack of diagnosis on the adductor issue — will surely be a frustrating revelation for Mariners fans, but Haniger explained today that he felt healthy all offseason long and only incurred a setback upon resuming baseball activities.
With Haniger on the shelf for an indeterminate period of time, the Mariners will have themselves something of a competition in right field. Jake Fraley, Braden Bishop, waiver claim Jose Siri and non-roster invitee Carlos Gonzalez will all be in the mix for playing time alongside projected left fielder Kyle Lewis and center fielder Mallex Smith.