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Haniger could rejoin Mariners this weekend

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Standout rookie right fielder Mitch Haniger could be back with the Mariners at some point this weekend, possibly as early as Saturday, as he returns from the strained oblique in his right side that has sidelined him the past six weeks.

Haniger was scheduled to play his fourth rehab game with Triple-A Tacoma on Friday night and will be re-evaluated after to see if he's ready to rejoin the big league squad.

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SEATTLE -- Standout rookie right fielder Mitch Haniger could be back with the Mariners at some point this weekend, possibly as early as Saturday, as he returns from the strained oblique in his right side that has sidelined him the past six weeks.

Haniger was scheduled to play his fourth rehab game with Triple-A Tacoma on Friday night and will be re-evaluated after to see if he's ready to rejoin the big league squad.

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"We'll see where we go from there," manager Scott Servais said prior to Friday's series opener with the Blue Jays.

"He may be activated Saturday, or I certainly hope by Sunday. But we'll see how he comes out of tonight's game before we make a final decision."

Fellow rookie Ben Gamel has filled in well during Haniger's absence, but Haniger will return as the regular right fielder and Gamel, Guillermo Heredia and Jarrod Dyson will likely split time in left and center field based on pitching matchups.

"He was a pretty good player when he was healthy for us," Servais said. "So getting him back out there, it allows us to kind of mix-and-match with the other guys. Everybody has played well. Dyson has been phenomenal defensively. Offensively, some nights better than others.

"The two young guys, Gamel and Heredia, have been more consistent offensively. Looking at matchups, it's a good rotation to have, a good problem to have. I feel comfortable playing all those guys. We could play all four of them in center field if you had to, so it's a good spot to be in."

Haniger put up a .342/.447/.608 line with four home runs and 16 RBIs in 21 games before getting hurt. Gamel had a .312/.383/.433 line with two homers and 17 RBIs in 38 games going into Friday's contest.

Heredia has hit .284/.342/.373 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 47 games and has excelled defensively in center field. Dyson has hit .227/.324/.324 with two homers, 17 RBIs and a team-leading 14 stolen bases while also playing extremely well in the field.

Segura to begin baseball activity Saturday

• Shortstop Jean Segura, who has missed seven games with a sprained right ankle, will do some hitting in the indoor cage and begin playing catch on the field Saturday in his first baseball activity since going on the 10-day disabled list.

"He's starting to pick things up a little," said Servais. "We'll do some tests today to see where he's at pain-tolerance wise. He's definitely moving in the right direction. I'm pushing as hard as anybody on that. We need him back."

Servais is hoping the AL's leading hitter with a .341 average might only be out another week or two, as opposed to initial estimates that he might be sidelined well into July.

Worth noting

Hisashi Iwakuma came out of his extended 50-pitch bullpen session on Thursday in good fashion and will throw two innings in a simulated game on Sunday morning. Felix Hernandez is scheduled to start his second rehab game with Triple-A Tacoma that same day in a 1:35 p.m. PT contest against Las Vegas at Cheney Stadium.

Ryan Weber, who suffered a strained right biceps in his first spot start with Seattle on May 13 in Toronto, still hasn't been cleared to begin throwing again. Weber said the pain in his biceps is just starting to subside, but no surgery is expected. He's now on the 60-day disabled list.

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

Seattle Mariners, Mitch Haniger