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Mariners’ Mitch Haniger undergoes second surgery in three weeks; timetable to return unknown

Seattle Mariners' Mitch Haniger heads home on his solo home run against the Houston Astros in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / AP)
Seattle Mariners' Mitch Haniger heads home on his solo home run against the Houston Astros in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / AP)
By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

Mitch Haniger’s return to the Mariners for the 2020 season has been delayed by yet another surgery. It was yet another unfortunate issue for the Mariners’ best player.

Major league sources confirmed a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Haniger underwent his second surgery in three weeks. It was a discectomy, which is a procedure that removes part or the whole intervertebral disc.

Haniger posted a humorous photo from his hospital bed confirming the surgery.

At the Mariners’ pre-spring luncheon in late January, general manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed that Haniger suffered an abdominal injury while hitting. It required immediate sports hernia surgery.

“I was expecting him to show up for the first day of spring training ready to go, but that does not appear to be the case,” Dipoto said then.

That surgery was expected to keep Haniger out of spring training and delay his start until May. The Mariners hope this subsequent surgery won’t keep him out much longer. But putting a timetable on his return would be premature.

Last season, Haniger slashed .220/.314/.463 (batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage) with 15 home runs and 32 RBI in 63 games. In 2018, he made the All-Star Game and ended the year slashing .285/.366/.493 with 26 home runs and 93 RBI in 157 games.

The initial core surgery is connected to the season-ending injury Haniger suffered June 6, when he fouled a ball off into his groin area and suffered a ruptured testicle. He had immediate surgery to repair the damage. He made multiple attempts to come back in the months after the surgery, but some abdominal tightness and lower-back discomfort due to his weakened core didn’t allow him to return to the field.

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