Key offseason addition Haniger sidelined by oblique strain

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Just as the Giants got their outfield starters back on the field, a key offseason addition hit the sidelines. 

A day after Michael Conforto played the field for the first time, Mitch Haniger had an MRI on his left oblique that showed a Grade 1 strain. Haniger will rest for five to seven days and then be reevaluated, but he's hopeful that he won't miss Opening Day. The Giants kick off the 2023 MLB season at Yankee Stadium on March 30.

"I feel confident that I'll be back for Opening Day, but at the same time you've just got to make sure you listen to your body, listen to the trainers and do it right so that this doesn't come back," he said.

Haniger strained his oblique in 2017 with the Seattle Mariners and missed about six weeks, but he said that one was much worse than his current one, which felt more like tightness for a couple of days. He was surprised when an MRI revealed a strain.

"It just was lingering and not going away, so we thought it was best to just shut it down and make sure it didn't get any worse," Haniger said. "It's not even close [to the previous one], it's way less severe."

Oblique strains generally knock players out for several weeks, which will make it a close call to get Haniger back by the start of the regular season. That could put the Giants in a bind, as they already are short in the outfield while Austin Slater (elbow) works his way back. 

The two healthy outfielders -- Conforto and Mike Yastrzemski -- both hit left-handed, and the two main alternate options -- Joc Pederson and LaMonte Wade Jr. -- also are left-handed hitters. The Giants have gotten Thairo Estrada reps in the outfield, but manager Gabe Kapler doesn't anticipate it getting to that point. 

RELATED: Conforto details how Giants deal was over year in the making

Kapler said he's optimistic Slater will be ready in time and hopeful with Haniger, although he admitted obliques are always a challenge. 

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