The Mariners will be without outfielder Mitch Haniger for at least five days, if not longer, after he tested positive for coronavirus.

Manager Scott Servais made the announcement Saturday afternoon as position players were filing onto the field for a pregame workout.

“Mitch is going to go on the COVID IL,” Servais said. “He’s got some symptoms and tested positive. We’ll be without him for a few days and hopefully no new symptoms and he clears tests here. I think five days is the kind of a minimum you have to be out. We’ll continue to test him and hopefully get him back as soon as we can.”

Haniger wasn’t feeling well following the Mariners’ 11-1 win in the home opener vs. the Houston Astros. He took a home COVID test early Saturday morning, which came back positive, and it was verified with a second test at T-Mobile Park. Haniger must quarantine for the five days and test negative on consecutive days while showing no symptoms.

“Not great news,” Servais said. “But you have to deal with this stuff. It’s everywhere and you are starting to see it cropping up a little bit around the league and now it’s in our clubhouse.”

Haniger played in all eight of the Mariners game this season, posting a .176/.200/.471 slash line with a double, three homers, seven RBI, a walk and nine strikeouts.


Jarred Kelenic served as the starting right fielder in Haniger’s place while Eugenio Suarez moved from third base to designated hitter with Abraham Toro added to the lineup and starting at third base.

The Mariners recalled infielder Donovan Walton from Class AAA Tacoma to take Haniger’s spot on the active roster. He will serve as the back-up utility infielder with Dylan Moore likely serving as the extra outfielder.

Servais wasn’t aware of any possible contact-tracing absences based on close contact between Haniger and teammates.

“I don’t know how that all works out,” Servais said. “I know he has to report the contact tracing stuff like if you’ve been within six feet of somebody for 15 consecutive minutes or something like that. I think that’s kind of one of the stipulations that identifies whether you’re in close contact with somebody. We’ll just have to wait and see how all that comes back.”

Last season, players were required to wear Kinexon tracing wristbands with GPS trackers to monitor potential close-contact situations. Those wristbands are not being worn this season. Based on the amended policies announced in 2021, players that are fully vaccinated do not have to quarantine on a close contact tracing if they are not showing symptoms.

Over the last week, a handful of Major League Baseball players have tested positive for COVID-19 and others have been placed on the COVID injury list due to symptoms or contact tracing, including Mets regulars Mark Canha and Brandon Nimmo, Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez and Oakland outfielder Stephen Piscotty. MLB greatly rescinded its COVID guidelines and policies but is still maintaining a COVID injured list that doesn’t have a minimum number of days required before being activated.


The updated protocols were agreed upon a few days after the owners and MLB Players Association agreed on new collective-bargaining agreement.

Per a story from The Associated Press, players are not required to undergo regular mandatory testing whether they are vaccinated or not. They are only subject to testing when displaying COVID symptoms.

M’s pick up local reliever

The Mariners made a small trade late Saturday evening, acquiring right-handed pitcher Riley O’Brien from the Reds in exchange for cash considerations.

O’Brien was a 2013 graduate of Shoreline High School and pitched for Everett Community College for two seasons before transferring to the College of Idaho. He was selected in the eighth round of the 2017 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays and was eventually traded to the Reds.

He made his MLB debut in 2021, making one start and allowing two runs in 1 1/3 innings. He made 22 starts and one relief appearance for Class AAA Louisville in 2021, posting a 7-7 record with a 4.55 ERA.

The Mariners added him to their 40-man roster, which has an open spot with Haniger on the COVID IL.


Following Ichiro’s ceremonial first pitch to Julio Rodriguez on opening night, which was anything but a light toss, a rumor was started on Twitter that the pitch had a velocity of 96.3 mph as measured by MLB Statcast. Those reports were erroneous. Per the Mariners baseball information staff, who went back and checked Stacast data, Ichiro’s first pitch was measured at 84.5 mph.