Mitch Haniger’s second game with the Tacoma Rainiers didn’t yield any hits, but it did give him a chance to play in the field.
Haniger, on a rehab assignment since pulling an oblique muscle on April 25, went 0-for-3 in the Rainiers’ 8-3 loss to the Reno Aces on Wednesday at Cheney Stadium.
Haninger, whoe went 1-for-4 on Tuesday, played six innings in right field for the Rainiers. He said he’s still getting adjusted to playing after having been out for over month.
“Just trying to get my feet under me,” Haniger said. “I’ve been feeling good at the plate, just trying to get timing down, swing at good pitches; hit the ball hard.”
And he did but didn’t have much to show for it. In each of his at-bats, Haniger made contact. It just so happened to end up in the Reno gloves.
Haninger popped out to the second baseman in his first at-bat, lined out to the right fielder in his second and then hit a sharp grounder to second in his final at-bat.
Haniger said his body feels healthy but he needs to find his rhythm.
“We’re trying to increase the intensity of the game,” Haniger said. “I know tomorrow I’ll probably play a full game. Got to ramp it up.”
Before his injury, Haniger was among the best hitters in the American League. In 21 games with the Mariners, he hit .342 with four homers and 16 RBI.
Now that Haniger is back at full health, he is chomping at the bit to get back to Seattle.
“The team has been playing really well lately,” Haniger said. “I can’t wait to get back up there to help the team win.
“So hopefully not too long before I’m back up there.”
The Rainiers opened a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning highlighted by Daniel Vogelbach’s two-run homer and an RBI double by Tyler O’Neill. From there, it was all Reno.
The Aces tied the game in the sixth on Christian Arcia’s three-run homer off starter Rob Whalen. Whalen left at the end of the inning but Reno wasn’t done scoring, tagging relievers Ryne Harper and Dean Kiekhefer for five runs on seven hits.
“It's been going well for me, throwing a lot more strikes. Of course the one pitch that doesn't go my way gets hit out,” said Whalen, who scattered eight hits and struck out six.
“It’s one of those things. Baseball’s a funny game, just got to keep fighting through it.”