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When will Mitch Haniger return to Mariners lineup this season?

We’ve got the latest injury updates for Mitch Haniger and when he’ll return in 2022.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

After making it back from a painful couple of years — 2019 and 2020 — to post solid numbers in 2021, Seattle Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger is back on the injured list with another fluke injury. At least this one isn’t a ruptured testicle, which Haniger suffered in ‘19 when he fouled a pitch off his groin. This time, Haniger is recovering from a Grade 2 high-ankle sprain that he suffered on a swing in April. And that happened on his first at-bat after nearly two weeks on the COVID injured list.

As innocuous as it might have looked initially, this ankle ailment has sidelined Haniger for nearly two months, and he’s not terribly close to returning to the field. Here is the latest.

Mitch Haniger injury update

Haniger has not yet resumed full baseball activities. He was cleared to hit in the batting cage earlier this month, but he still isn’t running at full speed as his ankle is still tender. The Mariners remain optimistic that Haniger could play again in July, but given his initial 8-to-12-week injury timetable, an August return might be more realistic. It all depends on when Haniger will be able to do baseball activities with no limitations. At that point, he will be sent on a rehab assignment, and his timetable will be re-assessed.

The Mariners initially put Jarred Kelenic in right field in place of Haniger, but the highly touted prospect was demoted to the minors in mid-May as he continued to struggle at the plate. Since then, it’s been a platoon with Taylor Trammell and Dylan Moore in right. Both players have pop and athleticism as well as iffy strike-zone judgement. Trammell, a 24-year-old lefty, gets most of the at-bats and has produced an .807 OPS over 57 at-bats. Expect this platoon to remain in place until Haniger returns — or until Seattle recalls Kelenic again as he is having another productive year at Triple-A (.282 average, .886 OPS, 15 extra-base hits in 103 at-bats).