Mitch Haniger, Mike Yastrzemski nearing return from IL
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Mitch Haniger, Mike Yastrzemski nearing return from IL

Aug 22, 2023


Danny Emerman


Mike Yastrzemski sprinted around the bases at Oracle Park and Mitch Haniger is set to play his fifth rehab assignment game Sunday night.

Both veteran outfielders could return from the injured list as soon as Monday.

Yastrzemski has been nursing a strained hamstring all August. He would’ve been back already, but felt sore after running the bases — typically the final hurdle for that particular injury — last week. Now, Yastrzemski has successfully sprinted around the diamond and hit off live pitching from John Brebbia twice this weekend.

On the season, Yastrzemski has slashed .233/.314/.439. He’s hit 11 home runs and is probably the Giants’ most reliable defensive center fielder.

“Yaz has been, for several years, one of our best hitters against right-handed pitching,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “A dependable center fielder, a dependable base runner, and a great teammate. So a very proven, regular, high-quality Major Leaguer.”

Haniger has been out since he fractured his right forearm on a hit-by-pitch on June 13. He’ll play in another rehab game with the Sacramento River Cats in El Paso. In his first four rehab games, Haniger is 1-for-15 with a walk and two strikeouts.

The Giants made Haniger their biggest offseason acquisition by signing him to a three-year, $43.5 million contract; he’s played just 40 games this year and has a 79 OPS+ (100 is league average).

Kapler indicated that there’s a “good chance” both Haniger and Yastrzemski will play against the Reds, who are in town for a three-game series from Monday through Wednesday. The Reds, who have roughly the same record as the Giants, are fighting for the same wild card spot San Francisco is.

Whenever Yastrzemski and Haniger return, the Giants will have some difficult roster decisions to make. Particularly with Haniger, who will be coming off the 60-day IL, SF will have to make room for him.

The most likely candidate to come off the 40-man roster include veteran AJ Pollock, who is also injured. The Giants will likely want to send down another outfielder, since they currently have Heliot Ramos, Luis Matos, Wade Meckler, Austin Slater, Joc Pederson and Blake Sabol as OF options. Casey Schmitt, though, could also make sense to get sent down if the Giants choose to be lighter in the infield.