Sam Haggerty’s value to the Seattle Mariners is his ability to move. He’s athletic, he’s fast, he’s versatile, and the switch-hitting utility player is quickly becoming a fan favorite because of his do-it-all hustle on the field. 

It was a more subtle movement that Haggerty credits for his breakthrough in the batter’s box this season. 

Last winter, Haggerty tweaked his stance to get his feet in a better position, rocking his feet ever so slightly before the pitch. He mimicked the stance of another utility player, the Dodgers’ Chris Taylor (yes, the former Mariner).

“I like to do a shuffle in the box to try to stay athletic,” Haggerty said. “If you watch, my feet move just a little bit.” 

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He’s given a lot of M’s fans reason to watch this summer, and a lot of reasons to convince Mariners manager Scott Servais to keep his name in the lineup on a regular basis. 

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In 43 games, Haggerty leads the Mariners with a .311 batting average (28 for 90) entering Tuesday. Since making his season debut May 22, he ranks second on the team in on-base plus slugging (.858), behind only Julio Rodriguez (.884) in that span. And Haggerty’s 1.4 wins above replacement ranks sixth on the team among position players. 

A 24th-round draft pick in 2015, Haggerty, 28, has had nearly 1,900 plate appearances in 447 games in his minor league career. He was called up to the majors for the first time by the New York Mets in September 2019, only to be released the day before Christmas a few months later.  

The Mariners claimed him a couple of weeks after that. He bounced back and forth between the Mariners and Tacoma for much of the past two seasons and missed much of 2021 with a shoulder injury. He was outrighted off the M’s 40-player roster last fall, and the up-and-down nature of his career has made this stretch of success all the more worthwhile. 

“Those times you do something special, it makes it easier to wake up the next day and put the uniform back on,” he said. “What else would I really want to do?”   

Haggerty had the most memorable moment of his MLB career last week at Yankee Stadium when he had a pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning to give the Mariners the lead in an 8-6 victory. He scored the final run in the ninth after stealing second and scoring on an Adam Frazier single. 

“When he gets in the game,” Servais said, “things happen.” 

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Those heroics came two days after an ugly day in Houston in which Haggerty made a defensive miscue in right field and failed to get down a sacrifice bunt late in the game. He smashed his bat in frustration in the dugout, and the bat ricocheted and hit Haggerty above the eye, resulting in eight stitches. 

It’s been one of the few hiccups in his breakthrough season. 

“He’s been a really nice contributor for our team, and being able to provide defensive versatility — we’ve needed it,” Servais said. “We needed it with guys going down, and he’ll continue to get plenty of opportunities.” 

Notes

Julio Rodriguez will not be activated from the injured list Wednesday when he’s eligible to return.

“We’re gonna give him tomorrow [off] and then we’ve got the off day on Thursday so the hope is he would be fine when we get to Texas on Friday,” Servais said. “That’s what we’re shooting for right now.”

Servais admitted he might have been overly optimistic when he mentioned Monday that Rodriguez might be able to play in the homestand finale Wednesday afternoon with the Yankees starting Nestor Cortes.

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“He did swing the bat a little bit yesterday with his own bat and off a little bit more velocity, not full-game velocity, but a pitcher throwing,” Servais said. “And it didn’t feel great. It is a contusion. Nothing is broken. We’ll just give him a little more time to let him work through some things and get him into the game.”

— Utility player Dylan Moore and reliever Diego Castillo are expected to be activated from the IL before Wednesday’s game.

Roster move

— The Mariners placed left-handed pitcher Ryan Borucki on the 15-day injured list with a strained left flexor tendon. He suffered the injury in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s loss. The Mariners recalled left-handed pitcher Brennan Bernardino from Class AAA Tacoma to take his spot in the bullpen.