Mariners’ right fielder Mitch Haniger was removed from the second inning of Saturday’s game after getting struck in the face by a 95 MPH fastball. He was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for a mouth contusion, but is still expected to undergo further testing. No recovery timetable has been set for the outfielder, who has already missed some time this season with a jammed finger and right oblique strain.
The pitch, a bullet from Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom, hit Haniger around the nose and mouth area as he tried to turn away from it. He immediately crumpled at the plate and was attended to by Travis d'Arnaud before Mariners’ trainer Rick Griffin helped him off the field.
Following the incident, Guillermo Heredia assumed Haniger’s place in the lineup and covered left field while Ben Gamel shifted from left to right field. The Mariners currently lead the Mets 3-0 in the sixth inning.
Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.
It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.
While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.
If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.