There might be some help for the Mariners on the horizon.
Right fielder Mitch Haniger took part in regular batting practice Thursday, and veteran Hisashi Iwakuma is ticketed Friday for an extended bullpen workout.
Haniger is recovering from a facial laceration after getting hit in the lip by a pitch from Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets on July 22. Iwakuma hasn’t pitched since May 3 because of inflammation in his shoulder.
Neither player seems likely to return prior to September.
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"Mitch is doing really well," manager Scott Servais said. "It doesn’t even look like he got hit. His mustache is already growing in. You can’t really see much at all there. He’s been working out. He’s been throwing. He's been hitting."
Tentative plans call for Haniger, 26, to take part in batting practice for a few days before beginning a minor-league rehab assignment. Such an assignment can last up to 20 days for non-pitchers.
If Haniger stays on a rehab assignment through August, the Mariners can activate him in September without a corresponding roster move.
That could be a key consideration because Leonys Martin, who replaced Haniger on the roster, is out of options. Haniger was batting .255 with seven homers and 24 RBIs in 58 games prior to his latest injury.
Haniger previously missed 6 1/2 weeks because of strained right oblique muscle.
Iwakuma, 36, was 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA in six starts prior to his injury but led the club last season by winning a career-high 16 games.
Servais said Iwakuma has already tested his recovery by throwing three light bullpen workouts but indicated Friday’s session should provide a more definitive test.
Even in best-case scenario, Iwakuma would likely need at least three rehab starts (or a combination of simulated games and rehab starts) before rejoining the rotation. That seems likely to push his timetable into September.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners