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Seattle Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto: Mitch Haniger likely needs surgery

Seattle Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger was limited to 63 games last season and batted .220 with 15 home runs and 32 RBIs. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/3c9fc54b457c3562a424ed58db035785/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Seattle Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger was limited to 63 games last season and batted .220 with 15 home runs and 32 RBIs. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Seattle Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger is expected to miss the beginning of the 2020 regular season after suffering a setback during his off-season training.

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto told reporters Thursday that Haniger likely needs to undergo core muscle surgery for a sports hernia, but the club is still waiting to learn more about the injury.

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Haniger suffered the injury during one of his off-season workouts earlier this week at the Sparta Science facility in Menlo Park, Calif. Dipoto said the latest setback is connected to Haniger's injury issues from last season.

"This is all coming together in the course of the last 40 hours or so, but he's attacking it very aggressively because he doesn't want to miss any more time," Dipoto said. "Mitch was in the midst of what, perhaps, was his best off-season since he's been with the Mariners.

"Mitch is very diligent in his preparation, and all of his metrics, the test scores and athletic explosiveness, were off the charts."

Haniger missed the final four months of the 2019 season after sustaining a ruptured testicle. He then experienced back and core issues during his recovery.

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Haniger was limited to 63 games last season and batted .220 with 15 home runs and 32 RBIs. In the 2018 campaign, he was an All-Star selection after hitting .285 with 26 homers and 93 RBIs.

Dipoto said the team hopes Haniger's recovery will take about six to eight weeks after the surgical procedure. He could return to the major league club in late April.

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