Mariners Insider Blog

Mixed injury news: Hernandez making progress, Haniger on go-slower plan

Outfielder Mitch Haniger, who is recovering from a strained right oblique muscle, is now battling tightness on his left side.
Outfielder Mitch Haniger, who is recovering from a strained right oblique muscle, is now battling tightness on his left side. AP

What do you want first, Mariners fans, the good news or the not-as-good news on the injury front?

Start with the positive: Right-hander Felix Hernandez played catch again Wednesday in his recovery from bursitis in his shoulder. He said he’s "feeling good" and on track for a bullpen workout Saturday in Boston.

The news regarding outfielder Mitch Haniger is more guarded and reins in some recent optimism in his recovery from a strained right oblique muscle.

Club officials had hoped Haniger would be ready this week to start a minor-league rehab assignment. That is now on hold, although he rejoined the traveling party Wednesday after undergoing an exam Tuesday in Seattle.

Haniger is now experiencing some tightness on his left side, possibly due to his effort to compensate for his injury in recent workouts.

"It’s definitely tight, too," he confirmed. "We’re trying to figure out why this is happening and get healthy as fast as possible. It’s been frustrating. I’m just hoping that I’m not out too much longer and that nothing gets worse."

Hernandez and Haniger each suffered their injuries April 25 in Detroit.

A normal progression for Hernandez, barring setbacks, would be a couple of bullpen workouts, a simulated outing or two against hitters, and then one or two rehab starts in the minors.

A best-case scenario points to a mid-June return. Hernandez was 2-2 with a 4.73 ERA in five starts prior to his injury.

Haniger will be evaluated in on-field workouts over the next few days and appears unlikely to embark on a rehab assignment before next week. On Wednesday, he was limited to a few swings in the cage.

"Right now, it’s a day-by-day plan," he said. "I’m not looking ahead for a week or two. I feel like I was looking ahead too far and tried to push it. I’m not doing that anymore."

Once cleared, Haniger would likely only require only three or four rehab games before returning to active duty. He was batting .342 with four homers and 16 RBIs through 21 games when he suffered the injury.

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners

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