TORONTO -- Blue Jays center fielder George Springer was “doing OK” postgame after being carted off the field following a freak collision with shortstop Bo Bichette on Saturday.
Springer needed help getting up and was removed in the eighth inning of the Blue Jays’ season-ending 10-9 loss in Game 2 of the American League Wild Card Series at Rogers Centre. Bichette clipped Springer on the back of the neck with his elbow as they dove for a blooper into shallow center by the Mariners’ J.P. Crawford.
Both players fell while three Seattle runs came around to tie the game at 9, one inning before the Mariners completed a miraculous comeback from an 8-1 deficit to move on to the AL Division Series.
“He's doing OK,” said Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider. “He's going to be evaluated for a couple of different things. He said some nice things to his teammates just now, so we'll know more in the next couple of days.”
As Springer sat on the cart and was driven off, with Jordan Romano watching from the mound, Springer waved his hands to a very silent crowd, demanding they make noise and keep supporting their team. Jackie Bradley Jr. took over at center field and in the leadoff spot.
It was one more oddity of a game filled with chaos, as Toronto had already pulled Whit Merrifield shortly after he was hit on the helmet by a pitch from Diego Castillo earlier in the game. Merrifield initially remained in the game to run the bases in the bottom of the fifth, but he was replaced on defense by Raimel Tapia to start the sixth.
It turned out that the move was made for defensive purposes. Merrifield, primarily an infielder, started in left field, whereas Tapia is considered an above-average defensive outfielder and the Blue Jays were leading 8-1 at the time.
“He's fine,” Schneider said of Merrifield. “We were just trying at that point in the game in the sixth inning, we're putting an outfielder in an outfield spot. It didn't feel like we were losing anything by putting [Tapia] in. That's how we've played it all year. Today, it didn't work out.”