Call it a small setback. At this point, the Mariners believe all outfielder Mitch Haniger needs is a day or two of rest before he’s able to proceed with plans to begin a minor-league rehab assignment.
Haniger said he felt some tenderness Thursday in his strained right oblique after a series of pre-game drills. He suffered the injury April 25 at Detroit.
The Mariners aren’t taking any chances. Haniger had been scheduled to depart this weekend to begin a rehab assignment, but oblique strains are notoriously easy to aggravate.
"He probably got a little too aggressive (Thursday)," manager Scott Servais said. "So we’re just going to give him a day off and slow him down a little bit. He felt a little tender at the end of the workout. Nothing totally alarming.
"But it was like, `OK, let’s just slow down here a second,’ instead of shooting him out, and he’s in a competitive situation."
Haniger, 26, batted .342 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 21 games prior to the injury and remains well ahead of the typical recovery period of four-to-six weeks for a grade 2 strain.
"Mitch wants to push the envelope as much as anybody," Servais said, "but he didn’t feel quite right after (Thursday). He did quite a bit (Thursday). He threw to the bases. He ran. He took BP. So we’ll just slow down a little bit."
***Lefty James Paxton experienced no-day problems from a 25-pitch bullpen workout Thursday in his recovery from a strained forearm muscle. He is scheduled to throw another bullpen workout Sunday before departing on a rehab assignment.
While plans call for Paxton to make just one rehab start, he isn’t expected to join the Mariners on an eight-game trip that begins Tuesday in Washington.
"That might be stretching it," Servais said. "Maybe when we come back off the road might be more realistic."
The Mariners return home May 31 for an 11-game run at Safeco Field against Colorado, Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Toronto.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners