SEATTLE -- Mitch Haniger, who has been sidelined for two months due to a ruptured testicle, is finally getting back close to full speed and took batting practice and shagged balls in the outfield with the Mariners prior to Tuesday’s series opener with the Padres at T-Mobile Park.
“He’s been running up to 75-80 percent, so he’s progressing,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.
Fellow outfielder Braden Bishop, who has also been out since early June following surgery to repair a lacerated spleen, rejoined the club as well for full pregame work. Both he and Haniger are “getting close to going out” on Minor League rehab assignments, according to Servais.
Reinforcements are thus on the way for a short-handed Mariners club, with second baseman Dee Gordon also feeling better after two weeks of recovery on his left quad strain. Gordon also worked out pregame and Servais said the team will decide in the next few days if the veteran second baseman needs a rehab stint or can just rejoin the big league club.
Veteran right-hander Félix Hernández is also continuing to progress from his right shoulder issues and will make his second rehab start -- this one at Advanced-A Modesto -- on Thursday against Inland Empire. Hernandez threw 20 pitches over two innings for Class A Short-Season Everett on Friday and will aim for three innings or 45-50 pitches in his next outing.
If all goes well, Hernandez could potentially rejoin the rotation in late August when the club needs to add a fifth starter to fill the void created by Mike Leake’s trade.
Due to a series of off-days on the schedule, the Mariners won’t need a fifth starter until their series in Toronto on Aug. 16-18, with the other option being the likely promotion of Justus Sheffield from Double-A Arkansas.
What’s in a nickname?
The third-annual Players' Weekend -- when all Major Leaguers are allowed to put a nickname on their jersey instead of their last name -- will be Aug. 23-25 when the Mariners host Toronto.
Most of the Mariners will go with fairly self-explanatory nicknames and Kyle Seager is opting for just “Seager” for a second straight year after his creative use of “Corey’s Brother” when the Players' Weekend debuted in 2017.
Gordon went with “Varis” last year as a nod to his given first name of Devaris, but he’s switched to an emoji of a lightning bolt this year to signify his “Flash” nickname.
Center fielder Mallex Smith’s jersey will bear the nickname “Water.” Where did that one come from?
“I flow everywhere,” said Smith.
Lopes, 25, was hit in the head by a pitch in his first Major League start on July 25, but has played four rehab games for Tacoma since and gone 5-for-16 with two stolen bases.
Brennan, the Mariners’ Rule 5 Draft selection, has been on the injured list with a strained right shoulder since July 14. He went 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA with nine strikeouts and four walks in eight rehab outings for Tacoma and now rejoins a Mariners’ bullpen that could use the help after dealing Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland at the July 31 Trade Deadline.
Brennan posted a 5.56 ERA over 34 innings in 30 relief appearances for Seattle before going on the injured list. He’ll take the place of Gerson Bautista, a rookie right-hander who has allowed 11 earned runs with nine walks and seven strikeouts in nine innings over eight outings in two stints with the Mariners.
• First baseman Ryon Healy had hip surgery on Tuesday in the hope of alleviating the back pain that has sidelined him since mid-May. Servais didn’t have any further information on the procedure, but Healy is done playing this season.
• Right fielder Domingo Santana will remain limited to designated hitter duties for the foreseeable future as he won’t be allowed to even begin throwing for several more weeks as he rests a strained right elbow.
• Reliever Dan Altavilla threw a bullpen session on Monday and will advance to live batting practice on Thursday as he ramps up his return from a right forearm strain. Fellow right-hander Austin Adams is also continuing throwing as he builds back up from a strained right shoulder that has sidelined him since July 4.
• Rookie right-hander David McKay was claimed off waivers by the Tigers on Tuesday, which puts Seattle’s 40-man roster at 36.
The 24-year-old posted a 5.14 ERA in seven innings in seven games over three different stints with the Mariners this year, but had been back with Triple-A Tacoma since July 16. He went 3-1 with a 5.15 ERA in 30 relief appearances with Tacoma.