OAKLAND -- Right fielder Mitch Haniger was back in the Mariners' lineup Thursday, two days after getting hit by a pitch on his right wrist. That's another encouraging sign for manager Scott Servais' ballclub, which is slowly but surely getting healthy after a rash of injuries to key players.Haniger's return
OAKLAND -- Right fielder Mitch Haniger was back in the Mariners' lineup Thursday, two days after getting hit by a pitch on his right wrist. That's another encouraging sign for manager Scott Servais' ballclub, which is slowly but surely getting healthy after a rash of injuries to key players.
Haniger's return adds another big bat to Seattle's lineup. The Mariners took a five-game winning streak into the series finale in Oakland, having won the first two against the A's despite scoring only three earned runs.
The 27-year-old Haniger, who leads Seattle in home runs and RBIs, was penciled in to bat third in the lineup against Oakland.
"He felt pretty good yesterday after he got out of the cages," Servais said. "He feels fine. He still has a little soreness there, but nothing he can't play through."
Haniger was hit by a 91.2-mph sinker from A's starter Trevor Cahill leading off the fourth inning Tuesday. Haniger remained in the game and took the field defensively in the bottom of the frame before leaving in the fifth.
That same night, shortstop Jean Segura also injured his left shoulder sliding into home plate with the winning run, leaving the Mariners with a long line in the trainer's room. Center fielder Dee Gordon is on the disabled list with a broken right toe, and designated hitter Nelson Cruz has been in and out of the lineup for the past week due to elbow and foot issues.
That doesn't include second baseman Robinson Cano, who recently had surgery for a fractured right hand and is serving an 80-game suspension from Major League Baseball after testing positive for a banned substance.
Cruz is trying to get his season on track. The Mariners slugger was hitting .274 through April, but he has been scuffling since. During the first 17 games in May, Cruz was only 9-for-58 (.155) with two home runs and seven RBIs. He was also hit by pitches six times over the same span.
"I think he feels much better," Servais said. "Last night, I know his results weren't great, but I thought his swings were much better. Just a matter of getting back to getting strikes. That's a big thing. He got into chasing balls out of the zone last night. Even talking to him after the game, he felt much better in the batter's box. That's a good sign. We're certainly going to need him to pick it up and get hot."
Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Oakland.