Finally, the Mariners have found something worse than their season. But it’s hardly a good distraction.
The man who leads the American League in strikeouts desperately needed make solid contact Thursday. Instead, OF Mitch Haniger fouled a pitch into his groin and Friday was put on the 10-day injured list with a ruptured testicle.
Somehow he managed to stay in the game until the seventh inning, when he came out for a pinch-hitter. The Mariners lost 8-7 in 14 innings to the Houston Astros, completing a 3-8 homestand ahead of a 10-day road trip that was to have begun at 7 p.m. Friday in Anaheim against the Angels.
Mariners release says Mitch Haniger’s injury occurred in the sixth inning but I think it happened here in the third inning. pic.twitter.com/FfO4n7CS0E
— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) June 7, 2019
When it comes to fouled balls, the Mariners have had unusually bad luck. Pitchers Josias Manzanillo and Mike Parrott were struck by line drives, and 3B Adrian Beltre missed 5½ weeks with the same injury.
Haniger, an All-Star last year, was already upon a tough season. After going 0-for-3 Thursday, he was hitting .220/.314/.,493 with 81 strikeouts in 63 games. He has 15 home runs and 32 RBIs.
It was the Mariners’ second unusual injury of the week. Rookie OF Braden Bishop needed surgery to repair a ruptured spleen after he was struck by a pitch.
The Mariners filled Haniger’s spot with reliever Tayler Scott, 27, who upon his first appearance will not only make his big-league debut, he’ll be the first MLB pitcher from South Africa. At AAA Tacoma, he was 3-2 with a save and a 5.88 ERA (22 ER, 33.2 IP) with 44 strikeouts and 19 walks in 19 relief appearances.
The Mariners have only three regular outfielders right now: Domingo Santana, Mallex Smith and Mac Williamson, the later a free agent pick-up last week after he was let go by San Francisco.
Presumably, the Mariners will outfit them in chain mail and steel codpieces.