He came, he saw for three games, and he went. The Toronto Blue Jays welcomed George Springer back to their lineup last Friday, but after a three-game stint, he’s back on the injured list for the second time this season.
His latest trip to the IL capped a very mysterious turn of events over the last four days. On Sunday, he was removed from the Blue Jays’ series finale due to “leg fatigue.” Then he was absent from the team’s series kickoff in Oakland. Fair enough, first game after a long flight to the Bay Area.
But then Springer wasn’t in the lineup on Tuesday, then Wednesday, which led to an announcement that he’d rejoin the injured list after re-aggravating his quad injury. All things considered, the news isn’t all that surprising.
🔹 OF George Springer (right quad strain) placed on the 10-day IL
🔹 OF Jonathan Davis recalled and will be active for tonight's game pic.twitter.com/lGiAzrSHkW
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 6, 2021
Springer gripped his leg running down the first base line over the weekend, plus he also stumbled out of the gate awkwardly during a separate at bat against the Braves. If he wasn’t moving out of the box, he appeared to be healthy enough to hit.
Despite the setbacks, he clubbed a pair of home runs in the series and looked perfectly fine at the plate. But bolting down the baselines was a different story, and he never played in the field at centre field.
In retrospect, the fact that Rowdy Tellez was demoted last week should’ve been a sign that Springer would play the bulk of his time at DH. Tellez made 10 of his 15 starts at designated hitter, and with a hobbling Springer coming back into the fold, it made sense to ease him back into action under the protection of the DH.
But for the Blue Jays, it now seems like a “one step forward, two steps back” situation with Springer. He’s on the injured list retroactive to May 3rd, which means he’s eligible to return to action as early as May 14th, but don’t be surprised if that IL stint is even longer.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said Springer went for an MRI, and the team deemed another trip the injured list was necessary to rehab his ailing quad.
“We just didn’t see him improving fast enough, so we decided to get some imaging done to decide the next steps,” Montoyo told reporters.
I don’t think the Blue Jays were being misleading about the status for Springer, it was a situation that was evolving day by day. He was healthy enough to hit, but not healthy enough to play the field. Then he wasn’t even healthy enough to be pencilled into the starting lineup, and now he’s back on the injured list.
This isn’t a case like in 2007 when Blue Jays General Manager J.P. Ricciardi initially told the media that their closer B.J. Ryan was dealing with a sore back, then later revealed it was actually an elbow injury, which led to Tommy John surgery for Ryan.
Riccardi famously said: “They’re not lies if we know the truth.”
The Blue Jays didn’t outright lie about the Springer situation, but a little more transparency could’ve been applied here. The team was in a wait-and-see approach with their star centre fielder, and after things didn’t improve and they received the results from his MRI, they sent him to the injured list.
Knowing what we know now, it might’ve made more sense to wait things out a little longer and see if Springer could’ve returned in more of a full-time capacity as both a fielder and a hitter.
At this point, the Blue Jays would love to have Springer contribute in any capacity, but by bringing him back into the fold as a DH, perhaps not healthy enough to play centre field, they might have done more harm than good.