Haniger taking it slow with sore right hand

Outfielder "not too worried" about soreness; Vogelbach in walking boot after HBP Friday

February 24th, 2018

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The early injury bug continued to bite the Mariners on Saturday as right fielder Mitch Haniger was ruled out for several days to rest a sore hand, while first baseman had his foot in a walking boot after being hit by a pitch in Friday's Cactus League opener.
Haniger's situation is believed to be minor, as he said his right hand has been tender off and on over the last month after changing the grip on his swing over the offseason, but the team is being extra cautious after first baseman was sidelined four to six weeks following surgery to remove bone spurs from his right hand.
Starting pitcher had already been shut down from throwing for two weeks after feeling some tightness in his right lat muscle in the first few days of camp, which wasn't a good start for a club that went through a Major League-record-tying 40 pitchers last season.
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Vogelbach's status is more up in the air. He took a ball off his right foot in the first inning of Friday's 3-2 win over the Padres, but stayed in the game and doubled in the sixth inning before being lifted for a pinch-runner.
The 25-year-old was still maneuvering on a crutch with a walking boot while awaiting results on an MRI test on Saturday afternoon.
"Once I took my shoe off, it got real sore and this morning it was really stiff," Vogelbach said. "Hopefully, it's just a bruise and I'll be back on the field sooner than later."
Manager Scott Servais said he expected Vogelbach to miss at least a few days.
With Healy questionable to be ready by Opening Day, Vogelbach and Rule 5 Draft pickup were expected to split the majority of work this spring at first base. The club also has veteran Matt Hague in camp on a non-roster invitation.
Healy will have the stitches removed from his hand soon and could be out on the field doing defensive work in about five or six days, Servais said. But there's no firm timeline on when he might be able to start swinging a bat.
Servais acknowledged that Healy's injury is part of the reason for being so careful with Haniger's sore hand.
"It's not a big deal, but we want to be really cautious on that one," Servais said. "You might not see him in there for four or five days. It's nothing serious. But with the Healy thing and everything else, it's probably me as much as anybody, let's just take it easy, take it slow."
Haniger took batting practice every day prior to Friday, when he continued to stand in the cage but just tracked pitches instead of swinging, per doctor's orders.
"I feel like it's 95 percent, but they said back off a couple days and we'll be good to go," Haniger said. "So it's nothing to crazy. Just some inflammation."
Haniger hit .282/.352/.491 with 16 home runs and 47 RBIs in 96 games last year as a rookie, but missed considerable time with a strained oblique and then facial lacerations after getting hit by a pitch. The 27-year-old is expected to play a big role in the Mariners' outfield again this season and is confident his sore hand is just part of the normal early-camp soreness.
"Early in the offseason, your hands and wrists always bug you a little," he said. "That's why I start hitting early in November and build up through it. It's very common to feel something in the offseason when you start swinging at a high velocity when you haven't been swinging for two months. This one kind of came and went, but I'm not too worried about it. It's no big deal."