Mariners place Mitch Haniger on COVID-19 injured list after outfielder tested positive on Saturday

The Mariners will be without outfielder Mitch Haniger for at least five days, if not longer, after he tested positive for COVID-19.

Manager Scott Servais made the announcement Saturday afternoon as position players were filing onto the field for a pregame workout.

“Mitch is going to go on the COVID IL,” Servais said. “He’s got some symptoms and tested positive. We’ll be without him for a few days and hopefully no new symptoms and he clears tests here. I think five days is the kind of a minimum you have to be out. We’ll continue to test him and hopefully get him back as soon as we can. ”

Haniger was not feeling well following the Mariners’ 11-1 win in the home opener over the Houston Astros. He took a home COVID test early Saturday morning, which came back positive, and it was verified with a second test later at T-Mobile Park. Haniger must quarantine for the five days and then test negative on consecutive days while showing no symptoms.

“Not great news,” Servais said. “But you have to deal with this stuff. It’s everywhere and you are starting to see it cropping up a little bit around the league and now it’s in our clubhouse. “

Haniger had played in all eight of the Mariners game this season, posting a .176 / .200 / .471 slash line with a double, three homers, seven RBI, a walk and nine strikeouts.

Jarred Kelenic served as the starting right fielder in Haniger’s place while Eugenio Suarez moved from third base to designated hitter with Abraham Toro added to the lineup and starting at third base.

The Mariners recalled infielder Donovan Walton from Class AAA Tacoma to take Haniger’s spot on the roster. He will serve as the back-up utility infielder with Dylan Moore likely serving as the extra outfielder when needed.

Servais was not aware of any possible contact-tracing absences based on close contact between Haniger and teammates.

“I do not know how that all works out,” Servais said. “I know he has to report the contact tracing stuff like if you’ve been within six feet of somebody for 15 consecutive minutes or something like that. I think that’s kind of one of the stipulations that identifies whether you’re in close contact with somebody. We’ll just have to wait and see how all that comes back. ”

Last season, players were required to wear Kinexon tracing wristbands with GPS trackers to monitor potential close-contact situations. Those wristbands are not being worn this season. Based on the amended policies announced in 2021, players that are fully vaccinated do not have to quarantine on a close contact tracing if they are not showing symptoms.

Over the last week, a handful of Major League Baseball players have tested positive for COVID-19 and others have been placed on the COVID injury list due to symptoms or contact tracing, including Mets regulars Mark Canha and Brandon Nimmo, Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez and Oakland outfielder Stephen Piscotty. MLB greatly rescinded its COVID guidelines and policies, but is still maintaining a COVID injured list that does not have a minimum number of days required before being activated.

The updated protocols were agreed upon a few days after the owners and MLB Players Association agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Per a story from the Associated Press, players are not required to undergo regular mandatory testing whether they are vaccinated or not. They are only subject to testing when displaying COVID symptoms.

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