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Aptos resident Mitch Haniger heating up on the plate for SF Giants – Santa Cruz Sentinel


San Francisco Giants outfielder Mitch Haniger has started to not only make up for lost time, but a slow start on offense.

“I’ve been working on some things and feeling good lately,” he said.

The 32-year-old Aptos resident missed the first 22 games of the season with a Grade 1 oblique strain and made his regular-season debut for the Giants on April 24.

Excitement to get the 2018 All-Star on the field had been building since the free agent signed a three-year, $43.5 million deal with San Francisco in December. But the Giants were forced to wait to open their present.

What the Giants were getting wasn’t a surprise, manager Giants Gabe Kapler said Tuesday.

The Giants' Mitch Haniger runs out a hit during the eighth inning of a game against the host Milwaukee Brewers Saturday. (Morry Gash - The Associated Press)
The Giants’ Mitch Haniger runs out a hit during the eighth inning of a game against the host Milwaukee Brewers Saturday. (Morry Gash – The Associated Press)

“Our expectations dating back to the offseason were that he was going to be a good, quality major leaguer with the ability to be an All-Star caliber player at the plate,” Kapler said. “He got off to a bit of a slow start statistically, but that confidence never wavered and won’t waver going forward.”

The former Seattle Mariners slugger, limited to 57 games in 2022 due to a right ankle injury, was hitting just .172 as recently as May 16.

He’s 10-for-30 batting with three doubles, two home runs, eight RBI and six runs scored over the past week, entering play Wednesday. Haniger has posted three three-hit outings in his last five games. He had a pair of RBI doubles in the Giants’ eight-run seventh inning Monday, when the Giants walloped the Pirates 14-4.

“For me, it’s always about having a consistent load and being in the right position to hit,” Haniger said. “I started out OK and kinda went a little weary. But I feel like I have a good idea of what I need to do and what I’m doing to kinda build off that and keep things going.”

He has raised his average to .245, and has four home runs, 19 RBI, 16 runs scored, six doubles and a stolen base.

Haniger had plenty of reason to fret when things weren’t going his way. There is constant pressure for Mountain View native, who prepped at Archbishop Mitty in San Jose, to produce for his hometown team and prove his worth. And do so while integrating into a new clubhouse, with new teammates and in a new environment, all while facing many pitchers he’s never faced before.

None of that didn’t has gotten to him, he said.

“There’s always new challenges,” Haniger said. “So far it has been good. Everyone has been really welcoming. The staff has been great. A lot of guys have had success over the years. It’s been really fun. I’m really proud to put on a Giants uniform every day. It has been a blessing and it’s great to play back at home.”

The seventh year pro is only two years removed from his best season. He smashed 39 home runs, had 100 RBI, and scored 110 runs for the Mariners in ’21.

The Giants have done their best to make Haniger feel welcome and comfortable.

Some of meshing process falls on the incoming player, teammate Brandon Crawford said.

“Mitch has been great,” the veteran shortstop said. “Right when he got here, it seemed like he had been here for a while.”

Haniger has also benefitted from the support of friends and family in the area.

He said he’ll continue to work in an effort to be comfortable in the batter’s box. He knows that streaks are part of the game. The big thing, he said, is making adjustments to extend the hot streaks and minimize the cold spells.

Kapler believes that Haniger’s success of late is here to stay.

“He has been great over the course of the last week or 10 days,” Kapler said. “Earlier on, he didn’t have the best luck. We expect him to be a great major league going forward.”



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