It’s definitely not great news for the Blue Jays that George Springer has a new injury, but for one struggling slugger, it might buy the time he needs.
Things haven’t gone according to plan for Rowdy Tellez to start the regular season, as the first baseman/DH has started the campaign by going 0-16 against the Yankees and Rangers. It’s a small sample size to be sure and normally not much of a reason to panic, but the circumstances are a little different for the Blue Jays this year.
Once they have a fully healthy roster, at least one starter-worthy player is going to have to sit each night. With George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Randal Grichik fighting for playing time between three outfield positions, and a jam-packed infield picture, Tellez is going to have to perform to see regular time as the DH. The most likely scenario would see him and Grichuk competing for the majority of playing time, and the latter has started the season on a pretty hot note.
The good news for Tellez is that the Jays may not have to make this decision right away now that Springer has suffered another injury. We don’t know the extent of the new quad problem, but we should get an update as soon as tomorrow. Originally it was thought that he’d recovered enough from his first injury, an oblique strain, to potentially join the lineup this week. That’s probably not going to happen now, and that window of opportunity could be huge for Tellez as he tries to get his season on track at this early stage.
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The 26-year-old had a bit of a breakout season last year, albeit in a small sample size as well. He ended up slashed .283/.346/.540 with eight home runs and 23 RBI over just 113 at-bats, and at times was the Blue Jays’ hottest hitter. The hope was that he could carry that production over into 2021 and provide a left-handed bat that would help bring more balance to the lineup, and of course, another mighty weapon for Charlie Montoyo’s batting order.
While the balance aspect works in his favour, Grichuk’s presence in the lineup makes the defence better, as he’ll provide a solid glove in right field once Springer returns and it’ll allow the occasionally defensively challenged Teoscar Hernandez to spend more time as the DH. There’s an argument to be made in favour of either scenario, and it’ll likely come down to which player is producing at a higher level. For now, the answer has definitely been Grichuk.
With that being said, Springer’s new injury might buy Tellez the time he needs to get back on track and prove his powerful bat belongs somewhere in the heart of the Blue Jays’ order. You never want to see bad news like the latest setback for Springer, but at least there’s a silver lining for one player. Here’s hoping he can take advantage.