Blue Jays: George Springer still the straw that stirs the drink

Jul 28, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder George Springer (4) celebrates hitting a single against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder George Springer (4) celebrates hitting a single against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Blue Jays have talent up and down their lineup, but there’s just something different about the way they play when George Springer leads the way.

As has often been the case throughout the 32 year old’s short tenure as a Blue Jay, Springer finds himself on the Injured List. The good news is that he was back on the field taking some batting practice and playing catch before Saturday’s game, and it sounds like he could be activated sometime early next week, maybe even as soon as Monday.

That’s good news for the Blue Jays who could really use the veteran’s presence in the lineup, even if he’s restricted to serving as the designated hitter to begin with. I’ll readily admit that I’ve called for Springer to spend some time on the IL until he’s in a healthier place with his wonky elbow, and I stand by it. That said, I also recognize that the Blue Jays need to get him back as soon as they can.

Springer last played on Aug 4th, and while it was admirable that he tried to play through the pain, it was also pretty obvious that he was compromised. The Jays wisely made the decision to sit him down at that point, and unfortunately things haven’t gone very well for the team since. After Springer went on the IL the Jays dropped their next two games to the Twins before squeaking out a win in the series finale, lost two games to the Orioles before the third was rained out, and now have split the first two games against Cleveland to start the weekend.

Aug 13, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays centre fielder George Springer (4) takes batting practice against the Cleveland Guardians at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 13, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays centre fielder George Springer (4) takes batting practice against the Cleveland Guardians at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /

I’m not suggesting that Springer’s absence is the sole reason for this recent skid for the Blue Jays, but there’s no denying the kind of spark that the 4x All-Star brings to the table. He’s one of the better leadoff hitters in MLB history and continues to be a weapon on both sides of the ball. On top of the that, he’s a respected veteran, and a positive voice in the clubhouse. Sometimes the intangibles are as important as the stats, and Springer is the type player that provides both.

It’s a concept that I wrote about last year, and admittedly I started working on this article before I remembered that I had used a similar title in the past. That happens from time to time, but in a case like this it also reinforces the point. Springer is a true difference maker, and the type of player that not only makes an impact with is own performance, but also finds a way to draw out the best of those around him. For a young and talented team still learning how to win at the highest level, it’s hard to overstate the importance of that idea.

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I’ll say it again, I hope the Blue Jays don’t rush Springer back before he’s ready, only because I hope he can stick around this time when he’s activated from the IL. With 50 games left in the 2022 campaign, they can’t get him back soon enough.

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