Haniger had the finger smashed by a pitch while trying to bunt on Saturday night.
CHICAGO — The pending roster decision to bring up a fifth starting pitcher changed slightly when a fastball from Mike Pelfrey smashed into the index finger of Mitch Haniger’s right hand in Seattle’s 4-3 win over the White Sox on Saturday night.
Haniger, who was attempting to bunt for a hit, left his finger a little too exposed on the bat.
“Ball ran in on me, got my finger and smashed it against the bat on the underneath part,” he said. “Usually I get my finger behind the bat and I just got around it. It was a two-seamer in. It’s unfortunate.”
It forced him to come out of the game because he couldn’t grip the baseball while warming up.
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“The rest of the at-bat I was fine but I couldn’t get anything on a throw,” he said. “That’s why I had to come out. I wouldn’t be able to throw a guy out at home in a big situation. The last thing I want to do is not be able to my job in the field and let our pitchers down.”
Haniger had the finger bandaged up on Sunday morning.
“It doesn’t feel too great,” he said.
Manager Scott Servais anticipates Haniger missing a handful of games.
“We are going to give him a few days,” Servais said. “Obviously it’s swollen and pretty sore, but some of the blood that’s behind the nail they got rid of some of that. I don’t know how it could affect him hitting, it’s more throwing.”
Haniger will be available to pinch run in games specifically for Nelson Cruz if needed.
“He’s on the roster,” Servais said. “We’ve those hand protector things that they all wear today. So he’ll be available.”
Haniger’s minor injury means that the team likely can’t option outfielder Boog Powell to Class AAA Tacoma to make room for starting pitcher Sam Gaviglio, who is scheduled to start Tuesday in Houston. The Mariners already needed the extra bench player because of Nelson Cruz’s sore right knee. Haniger’s injury makes keeping Powell a necessity.
It’s likely that right-hander Emilio Pagan, who pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief on Sunday, will be optioned back to Tacoma instead.
Hisashi Iwakuma (shoulder inflammation) has resumed throwing after being shutdown following injections in his shoulder in hopes of alleviating the discomfort.
“Kuma did play catch (Saturday),” Servais said. “It was just flat ground out to 75 feet. He felt okay there. But it’s all good and moving in a positive direction. He didn’t have any of the nagging stuff in the shoulder. But it’s just playing catch.”
There is no timetable for a return for Iwakuma.