MLB

Springer to make long-awaited Blue Jays debut

By Sports Desk April 28, 2021

George Springer will make his highly anticipated Toronto Blue Jays debut as a designated hitter against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.

Springer was lured to Toronto on a six-year, $150million contract from the Houston Astros via free agency – the largest deal in Blue Jays history – but injuries have prevented the 2017 World Series champion and MVP from debuting for the MLB hopefuls.

The three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger had been nearing a return from a left oblique strain, but tightness in his right quad has sidelined Springer.

However, Springer will finally step out for the Blue Jays when they face the Nationals in the second and final game of their short series in Dunedin midweek after star team-mate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. became the youngest player in MLB history with three-plus homers and seven-plus RBI in a game on Tuesday.

Guerrero hit three home runs, including a grand slam, as the Blue Jays topped the Nationals 9-5.

"This will be an exciting day," Springer told reporters. "I'm happy with my progress and obviously looking forward to getting in there.

"I just had to trust myself,'' Springer said. "Obviously I don't want to hurt myself again.

"I want to play. I'm tired of being on the IL and not being out there with the guys. I had an opportunity to play today and I said, 'Absolutely.'"

Heading into the 2021 season, Springer had led MLB with 136 home runs from the lead-off spot since 2015.

Springer has 39 lead-off home runs in his career – fourth most all-time behind Rickey Henderson (73), Ian Kinsler (48) and Brady Anderson (44).

The 31-year-old Springer has recorded seven career World Series home runs – most from the lead-off spot all-time – and he is 19-for-56 (.339) in the World Series in his career. No other current Blue Jays player has a World Series hit in their career.

Springer's 174 home runs since debuting in MLB via Houston are third most by an Astro in a player's first seven career seasons, behind only Jeff Bagwell (187) and Lance Berkman (180).

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