Boog Powell optioned back to Tacoma to make room for Haniger.
The Mariners’ April breakout star is finally back in the lineup.
Right fielder Mitch Haniger was activated from the disabled list Sunday morning and inserted into the starting lineup for Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays. He will bat second.
Haniger had been on the DL since April 26 with a strained right oblique.
Before the injury, Haniger hit .338 with 20 runs, four home runs, 16 RBI, 13 walks and a .442 on-base percentage in 21 April games.
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In five games with Class AAA Tacoma, Haniger hit .333 (6-for-18) with three runs, one double, one home run and two RBI during a rehab assignment this past week.
“He’s excited to get back in there. He’s anxious, like all the guys that are coming back from being out for an extended period of time,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Everybody’s expectations (of Haniger) are cautiously optimistic. He was playing at such a high level (before) he did get hurt. It’s hard to imagine he’d come back at that level — we’ll all take it, but I’ve got to be realistic. He hasn’t played in a big-league game for six weeks.”
Haniger’s return pushes Ben Gamel to left field and Guillermo Heredia to center for Sunday’s game. The left-handed Jarrod Dyson will sit against Blue Jays’ lefty J.A. Happ.
The four-man outfield rotation allows Servais to mix and match his lineup.
“All those guys are going to get plenty of action,” Servais said. “I think we’re in a really good situation with what Gamel and Heredia. They certainly have earned (the chance) to continue to say in that rotation. And even Haniger is not going to play every single day. I think we need to be smart here with how much he’s out there, knowing the other guys can carry the load. It’s a great position to be in.
“We’ve seen what Jarrod Dyson brings to our team defensively, on the bases. He’s swinging the bat much better here this homestand.”
Boog Powell was optioned back to Tacoma to make room for Haniger.
Hisashi Iwakuma threw a simulated game Sunday morning at Safeco Field and came away from that feeling “really good,” Servais said.
Iwakuma, on the DL since May 10 with inflammation in his right shoulder, is scheduled to throw three innings in his first rehab start Wednesday at Class A Modesto. He will have a pitch count of 45-50 pitches.
After Sunday’s game, the Mariners will fly to Minnesota for the start of a seven-game road trip. It’s a chance for the team to continue an offbeat, team-bonding tradition Servais started last year on the road.
For this trip, Servais came with up the idea of pairing players and team personnel with matching outfits — Twin Day, if you will, to prepare to play the Twins — and he’s excited to see some of the clever outfits the team has come up with.
“I don’t care how you dress, I don’t care what you wear, but you’ve got to dress as twins,” Servais said. “Guys have had a good time with it this week. I’m curious to see what the get-ups look like. They’re going to be pretty extreme. With these guys, cost does not bear into it.”
Names were drawn out of a hat to decided the pairings. Servais has been paired with assistant trainer/rehab coordinator Matt Toth, and Robinson Cano is teaming up with interpreted Antony Suzuki.
Each person contributed $20 to a prize pool, and on the plane a vote will determine the best twins.