11:09pm: Haniger underwent a discectomy, which “removes part or the whole intervertebral disc,” Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes.
8:50pm: Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger underwent surgery on Thursday, Jeff Passan of ESPN reports. It’s the second procedure Haniger has undergone since he had core surgery three weeks ago. It’s unclear when he’ll be able to come back, but there will be a significant delay to the start of his season, according to Passan.
Haniger was already set to miss a major chunk of time after his previous surgery. As of Jan. 23, he was supposed to sit out six to eight weeks, which would’ve kept him out for at least the beginning of the season. Last week, though, general manager Jerry Dipoto didn’t seem sure when the Mariners would get Haniger back, saying, “We have no expectation on his timeline until we actually see him live [at Spring Training].”
Dipoto didn’t rule out an early season return or a mid-year debut for Haniger, and now uncertainty continues to abound in his case. It’s awful news for Haniger, who already missed 99 games in 2019, as well as a Mariners team that will have to continue trudging on without arguably its best player.
While the 29-year-old Haniger wasn’t as productive in 2019 as he was during the previous two seasons, in which he posted star-caliber offensive production, he still put up above-average numbers at the plate. His batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage experienced precipitous drops, but Haniger’s .220/.314/.463 line in 283 plate appearances was nonetheless 6 percent better than the MLB mean, per FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric.
Had he gone through a healthy offseason, Haniger – who has three years of team control left – could have served as an appealing trade chip for the Mariners. That’s obviously not going to happen in the near future, though, and it’s now up in the air whether he’ll have much of a chance to rebuild his value before this July’s trade deadline.