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Santana poised to return; Haniger still on hold

@gregjohnsmlb
September 15, 2019

SEATTLE -- Right fielder Domingo Santana, who was a force in the middle of the Mariners' lineup in the first half of the season, will be activated off the 10-day disabled list for Seattle’s upcoming road trip beginning in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Santana has been sidelined since Aug. 19 with

SEATTLE -- Right fielder Domingo Santana, who was a force in the middle of the Mariners' lineup in the first half of the season, will be activated off the 10-day disabled list for Seattle’s upcoming road trip beginning in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Santana has been sidelined since Aug. 19 with a strained right elbow. He’ll see limited action in the final two weeks, but he will be available to pinch-hit in Pittsburgh for the first three games of the trip, and he could potentially be ready to start a game at designated hitter or in the outfield by the weekend series in Baltimore, according to manager Scott Servais.

Servais noted it’s hard to get players back into playing form at this point in the season after the Minor League schedules have ended, as there’s nowhere to get at-bats except in MLB games.

“He hasn’t had any at-bats or anything for quite a while, but we’ll try to slowly work him in there,” Servais said. “It’s tough [without a Minor League rehab]. I had it happen to me my rookie year. I broke my hand and sat six weeks, and came back in mid-September and took another 0-for-11. It’s just what happens this time of year.”

Santana has posted a .256/.332/.449 line with 21 homers and 69 RBIs, but his numbers have fallen off sharply in the second half. He hurt his elbow in mid-July and was limited to DH duties for a month before being shut down completely. Santana hit just .122/.257/.265 with two homers and four RBIs in the 15 games at DH prior to his IL stint.

Haniger still on hold

The Mariners still haven’t officially shut down Mitch Haniger for the season, but the 2018 All-Star won’t be making the trip to Pittsburgh and Baltimore, and there will only be one week remaining in the season upon their return.

Haniger has been sidelined since June 7, first with a ruptured testicle and then with a lower back issue that cropped up during his Minor League rehab return.

“I’m just kind of waiting,” Servais said. “He is feeling better. The issues he had with his back are starting to calm down, which is good. It’s just been a crazy year. Sometimes that happens.

"If you’re going to play in this league for 10 years, you’re going to have some great years and you’re going to have some stuff you have to deal with injury-wise, and you don’t perform the way you want. This year is kind of one of those years, you just wash it away.”

Haniger has played only 63 games, hitting .220/.314/.463 with 15 homers and 32 RBIs.

“It’s really hurt,” Servais said. “Not just on the field, but how he goes about his business in the clubhouse. You hear other guys who have been around Mitch last year, and how much that’s affected where we’re going. He’s a big, big part of what we’re trying to do, going forward.”

Worth noting

• Servais confirmed that Félix Hernández is on target to start Friday in Baltimore and then make his last start of the season the following Thursday against the A’s in Seattle. That likely will be Hernandez’s final appearance with the Mariners, since his seven-year, $175 million contract expires at the end of the season and he’ll be a free agent this winter.

• Shortstop J.P. Crawford was out of the lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the White Sox after going 0-for-8 with four strikeouts in his first two games back from a strained right hamstring. Servais said Crawford is fine, physically, but he is still looking to regain his timing and will be back in action on the upcoming trip.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.