In his return from the COVID-19 injured list, Seattle Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger unfortunately caught a cleat while swinging, injuring himself in what would be diagnosed as a high ankle sprain. Seattle has recalled OF Stuart Fairchild to take his place and sent Haniger to the 10-day injured list correspondingly.
The move is obviously a disappointment for the Mariners and Haniger, who has had well-documented injury issues, predominantly of the freak variety, and had a personal triumph in staying injury free to play 157 games in 2021. With Haniger, Kyle Lewis, and Taylor Trammell all injured, Seattle’s occasionally-fretted-over “logjam” of outfielders is free-flowing as ever. High ankle sprains are tricky injuries, and can take as little as a week or two or as much as a month and change to heal fully when rested properly. Hopefully Haniger is able to give himself the chance to heal and return at 100% when ready.
The injury creates an opportunity for Fairchild, a former 38th overall pick from the 2017 draft by the Cincinnati Reds. The Wake Forest University star was born and raised in Seattle, attending Seattle Prep High School. His profile is a tricky one to project as a full-time player, as he lacks big time power or lightning quick speed, however he blends an array of quality tools to perform above expectations. His swing is short and direct to the ball, helping him typically make plenty of contact, with occasional bursts of pop.
Stuart Fairchild blasts a solo HR! pic.twitter.com/s5OSxUozBj— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) April 29, 2022
He can handle all three outfield spots well, with above-average range and instincts that should be useful on a club with occasional platoon preferences for its corner outfielders. He was dealt from Cincy to the Arizona Diamondbacks on deadline day of 2020 along with INF Josh VanMeter for RHP Archie Bradley. The 26-year-old has just 17 plate appearances across 12 big league games, back in his 2021 debut, but he’s hit well in Triple-A between Reno and Tacoma. Congratulations to the local kid.