Yet more injury updates on Mitch Haniger and James Paxton and when they might return from the disabled list.
The plan for Mitch Haniger to be playing baseball somewhere in the Mariners’ minor league organization on Saturday to start his rehab stint has been delayed slightly. No, it wasn’t from weekend traffic.
Following a relatively strenuous workout before Thursday’s game at Safeco Field that featured Haniger running the bases, throwing from the outfield and taking batting practice on the field, there was some residual tenderness in the area of his strained right oblique. So instead of joining Class A Modesto in San Jose, Haniger took Friday off from activity. He received treatment on the oblique area instead.
“I’m just treating it and going day to day, trying to take it slow before we go out and do anything,” Haniger said.
Mariners manager Scott Servais wouldn’t call it a setback, but viewed it a precaution to avoid a setback.
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“He probably got a little too aggressive yesterday,” Servais said. “So we are going to give him a day off today. We are just going to slow him down just a little bit. I think he felt it at the end of the workout yesterday. It was still a little tender. Nothing totally alarming, but it was like, ‘ok, let’s just slow here for a second,’ instead of shooting him out there into a competitive situation. We are going to calm him down today.”
So instead of reporting to his rehab assignment on Friday or Saturday, he’s going to stay in Seattle for a day or two and then possibly report. Servais wasn’t certain on which day it would be. It depends on how the oblique area feels.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” Servais said. “The trainers just filled me in and let’s slow down a little bit right now. I think Mitch wants to push the envelope as much as anybody. But he didn’t feel quite right yesterday. He did quite a bit yesterday. So we’ll slow down a little.”
The Mariners are being cautious not to have a major setback for Haniger.
“You have to be careful,” Servais said. “You don’t want to go out and play in a really competitive situation, even if it’s on a rehab in the minor leagues. When you are in the batter’s box, you want to hit the ball and you aren’t going to slow down or take it easy. So we’ve got to be careful right now.”
Haniger went on the disabled list with a strained right oblique on April 26. He’s missed 21 games with the injury. At the time, he was the Mariners’ best hitter with a .342 batting average, 1.054 OPS, seven doubles, a triple, four homers and 16 RBI in 21 games.
There was some hope that if Haniger played three games over the weekend that he could join the Mariners in Washington D.C. to open a difficult eight-game road trip vs. the Nationals, Red Sox and Rockies — all good teams. There is hope he will still join the team during the road trip.
*** Lefty James Paxton will throw a bullpen session on Sunday and then report for a rehab start at the end of next week. Servais isn’t expecting him to be back in the rotation for the road trip.
“That might be stretching it,” he said.
Instead, the hope is he’ll rejoin the rotation on the start of the homestand that begins on May 31.
*** Servais still wasn’t ready to announce a starter for Sunday. The options include lefty Dillon Overton or rigth-hander Casey Lawrence from the bullpen or possibly calling up right-hander Chris Heston from Tacoma.