Blue Jays' George Springer Put on IL After Oblique Injury Diagnosed as Strain

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2021

Toronto Blue Jays' George Springer runs to first base for a single during the first inning of a spring baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. The Blue Jays won 4-2. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder George Springer will begin the regular season in the injured list. 

Manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters on Wednesday that Springer will be placed on the injured list with a Grade 2 strain of his left oblique. 

Springer hasn't played in a game since March 21 and only appeared in 10 games throughout spring training. 

Montoyo told reporters last week that Springer had progressed to hitting off of a tee, but they were still taking a day-to-day approach with him before making a final determination about his status for the season opener. 

The 31-year-old Springer is a key part of the Toronto lineup, as the three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger award winner signed a six-year contract with the Blue Jays during the offseason.

Springer spent his first seven MLB seasons with the Houston Astros, and he was a big factor again last season, hitting .265 with 14 home runs and 32 RBI during the COVID-shortened campaign.

Entering last season, Springer hit 29 or more home runs in three of the previous four seasons. The 2019 season was unquestionably Springer's best as an MLB player, as he hit .292 with a career-high 39 homers and 96 RBI. Springer also scored 96 runs, marking the fourth consecutive season in which he scored at least that many.

The Blue Jays are stacked with young offensive talent, but they needed a veteran with championship experience to tie it all together, and Springer undoubtedly fits the profile, as he was the 2017 World Series MVP.

With Springer in the fold, the Blue Jays' young stars now have an example to strive toward on a daily basis.

For as long as Springer is out, the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and others must step up and anchor the Toronto offense.

In terms of who will replace Springer, veteran Randal Grichuk could see additional time in center field, while Jonathan Davis may find himself in the lineup more often as well.

The Blue Jays will play the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the 2021 season opener on Thursday afternoon.