Springer back to IL with left knee sprain

August 18th, 2021

WASHINGTON -- When exited Saturday’s 9-3 loss to the Mariners with what was diagnosed as a left ankle sprain, Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo thought the injury would keep his star center fielder out for a few days. However, an MRI revealed a left knee sprain, and Springer was placed on the 10-day injured list prior to Tuesday’s game at Nationals Park. The move was retroactive to Sunday.

Springer told his skipper that he started feeling pain in his knee after he rolled his ankle while trying to make a catch during Saturday’s game. Blue Jays team doctors sent Springer for an MRI, which revealed the knee sprain, though its grade remains unknown. Springer was set to meet with the Nationals’ team doctors on Tuesday to get more information.

Montoyo doesn’t want to create a lineup without Springer, a three-time American League All-Star, but he has experience doing so. Since signing a six-year, $150 million contract in January, Springer has missed 66 games due to a left oblique strain (March 29-April 27) and a right quad strain (May 3-June 21). When he has played, he has made an impact, slashing .269/.362/.610.

“Not only George, but the whole team [is disappointed],” said Montoyo when asked about Springer’s emotions. “He's one of our best players. We're doing pretty good with him at the top of our lineup, but now, we’ve got to do what we did when we lost him the first time. Somebody’s got to pick [up] the slack, do the best they can, and we've done that before."

Montoyo wouldn’t speculate how long Springer will be out. He said he hopes to have him back before the end of the season, but he did not say whether that was an official timeline.

During Springer’s absence. Montoyo expects Randal Grichuk to get most of the reps in center field, including Tuesday’s game in Washington. Teoscar Hernández might also shift over from a corner to “mix it up.”

, Toronto's No. 8 prospect who was called up from Triple-A in a corresponding roster move, has played both the infield and outfield this season at Buffalo. He and Cavan Biggio (on the 10-day IL with mid-back tightness) might play some outfield, depending on how long Springer is out.

“I don't even want to say day to day or week to week, because I don't know,” said Montoyo. “My hope is day to day, you know what I'm saying? Of course, it’s going to take 10 days [minimum], but we'll see. We'll see how much he improves and stuff.”