How the Giants Can Adjust Its Outfield After Oblique Strain to Mitch Haniger

Another player has fell victim to an oblique injury, and it’s new San Francisco Giants outfielder Mitch Haniger. Haniger, who missed significant time in 2017 due to an oblique injury, is now temporarily off the shelf due to a Grade 1 oblique strain. Should Haniger miss any regular season time, the Giants do have some interesting options for its outfield.

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A Look at Haniger

New Giants outfielder Mitch Haniger put up a career year in 2021, in which the ex-Mariner hit 39 home runs and hit 253/.318/.485 for Seattle. An ankle injury put Haniger on the shelf for much of last season, one that didn’t prove to be as strong for the veteran outfielder when healthy, but one in which Haniger helped play a role for a playoff-bound Mariners unit.

San Francisco looked to be a major player in free agency this winter, but only came away with Haniger. When healthy, Haniger boasts plus power at the plate, good bat-to-ball skills and discipline, and a strong arm out in right field. But for now, it’s possible the Giants may need to wait for Haniger to make his Giants debut.

Haniger went down with a Grade 1 oblique strain. The 32-year-old stated that he believes he will be ready for Opening Day on March 30, but oblique injuries can be tricky.

What it Means

Should Haniger need to miss any time this season, the Giants do have a number of options on the table. San Francisco does have four outfielders — Michael Conforto, Joc Pederson, LaMonte Wade Jr., and Mike Yastrzemski — that can share the load with Haniger out.

Now, Haniger’s injury could put a wrench in how Gabe Kapler can align his lineups — at least for the start of 2023. Haniger is the only regular outfielder that is a right-handed hitter, thus making for a very left-handed hitting heavy outfield. Even though Haniger is an everyday player, San Francisco loves to make use of platoons and favorable matchups. The injury to the 32-year-old makes that a bit more challenging, thanks to the Giants’ depth chart.

San Francisco could also look towards Austin Slater as an additional right-handed bat.. Slater hit .264/.366/.408 with seven home runs and 24 extra base hits over 125 games (325 PA) in 2022. While he doesn’t have the same pop as the likes of Pederson, Conforto, or Haniger, the Stanford product does work counts and makes good contact. However, Slater has yet to play this spring due to an elbow injury.

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