Mitch Haniger has a simple request for the person who happened to be standing behind the visitors’ bullpen of T-Mobile Park during the seventh inning of Tuesday night’s game and was lucky enough to grab the baseball, his 38th homer of the season and his 100th career home run.

“Can he get the ball back, please?”

The real ball.

Normally when a player reaches a milestone homer, they have people from the stadium locate the fan who caught it and offer a trade of some sort.

But in the chaos of Tuesday night with the small but raucous crowd going crazy after his ball cleared the left field wall, the Mariners’ staff wasn’t able to locate the fan. The video replays show a fan in a Mariners hat and another in an A’s jersey tearing after the ball after it bounced past them.

On Wednesday morning, Haniger took to Twitter in hopes of recovering the meaningful ball.

“Thank you @Mariners fans! If anybody knows the guy who got the HR ball please reach out to me.”

Haniger does not tweet often, which it speaks to how much he wants to get that home-run ball back.


“I haven’t heard anything back yet,” he said before batting practice Wednesday. “I just hope to get it back. The actual ball.”

It has a sentimental meaning to him far more than it could to any fan.

How much meaning?

When he spoke about the accomplishment after Tuesday’s game, his voice cracked and a lump filled his throat as he fought back tears.

“Pretty cool,” he said. “It takes me back after missing so much time and being able to come back and do it, it’s a good feeling. I’m really thankful for all the people that helped me out along the way. I guess just it’s a testament to believing in myself and knowing I could do it.”

It was a rare show of emotion for the normally stone-faced and ultraserious Haniger, who is so focused that his teammates joke that he’s a robot.

When he jogged out to his position to start the top of the eighth, the fans in the right field seats gave him a standing ovation and chanted his name.


“Like I said earlier, just a lot of time missed time with a lot of pain,” he said. “Not really being able to walk for a little bit and kind of being pretty much broken and being able to come back it’s been fun.”

Haniger missed almost two seasons of baseball due to a fluke injury and the subsequent surgeries it wrought.

He was struck in the groin by a foul tip off his own bat June 6, 2019. He suffered a ruptured testicle that would require multiple surgeries and led to an abdominal surgery and back surgery during his attempt to come back. He never played in 2019 and sat out all of the shortened 2020 season to recovery from the last two surgeries, which he underwent just before spring training.

He set career highs in homers (38) and RBI (95) and will tie his career high in games played with 157. The hours of painful and slow-moving rehab work and the doubts and pain throughout the process are now gone. But admittedly he has yet to really understand all that he’s accomplished this season.

“There’s definitely been moments,” he said. “I feel like once you go through stuff like that, that puts your career in jeopardy, you have to kind of be grateful and take some time to be thankful to be able to be healthy, to be back on the field and back in the clubhouse. I’ve definitely had some moments throughout the year and last night was definitely one of them and I’m sure tonight will be one of them. I’m truly grateful for my wife and my family and everybody’s that helped me along the way. I’m sure it will set in more when the season comes to an end, hopefully in November.”

Pitching set for weekend

The Mariners announced their probable starting pitchers for the final series of the 2021 season.


Marco Gonzales will start Friday night, Chris Flexen will start Saturday and Tyler Anderson will get the nod Sunday in the final game of the regular season.

They will all be working on normal or extra rest because of the off day Thursday. Those starters could get shifted if the Mariners are looking at a potential play-in game for the wild card, which would be Monday. Rookie Logan Gilbert is in line to make that start.

The Mariners got a break with the Angels announcing that Shohei Ohtani is done pitching for the season. The hard-throwing Ohtani was scheduled to start Sunday in the final game of the season.