Blue Jays' George Springer to begin season on injured list

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo discusses all the latest health update on George Springer, says his 2nd MRI shows he’s progressing well, but will start the season on the IL, Montoyo says he should be back right after he’s eligible to return.

TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays and George Springer exercised sensible caution in deciding that the star outfielder will open the season on the injured list because of a Grade 2 oblique strain.

Manager Charlie Montoyo revealed the expected news Wednesday ahead of the club’s workout for Thursday’s season-opener against the New York Yankees, adding that Ross Stripling will follow ace Hyun-Jin Ryu in the rotation with T.J. Zeuch likely to start the third game if he’s not needed earlier.

"He's earned it," Montoyo said of Zeuch being in consideration for a start. "He's pitched really well, he pitched really well last year and he pitched really well in the spring. I'm not saying he's going to be the starter but he's a choice because of what he's done."

Two roster spots also remain to be decided post-workout, with Julian Merryweather if healthy expected to nab one and a handful of options for the other. The Blue Jays also need to clear two spots on the 40-man roster for Joe Panik and Tim Mayza, with the out-of-options Breyvic Valera and Reese McGuire two options.

Springer, who is with the team in New York, will continue baseball activities for the time being and his placement on the injured list can be backdated to March 29 making him and left-hander Robbie Ray, also opening the season on the IL, eligible for a return as soon as April 8.

“I’m hoping for as soon as possible but we have to go day-to-day,” said Montoyo. “Of course he’s got to face pitchers, live BPs and stuff, so how he responds from there we’ll know more (about a timeline). Hopefully, the first or second day when it’s time to come back, he’ll be ready.”

The Blue Jays made the call after a collective discussion with Springer, the medical staff, Montoyo and GM Ross Atkins.

“He understood, he’s a gamer, he wants to go, but he understood the reason we’re doing it,” said Montoyo. “He agreed with it. All together we agreed the best thing was to go on the IL at this point.”

Montoyo also revealed that he’d received a COVID-19 vaccine in recent days after scrambling to a standby availability. When asked if other coaches/off-field personnel had received shots, he replied, “I believe so.” The team is also “making plans” for others who want the shot.

The Blue Jays open the season on Thursday in New York against the Yankees with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET/10:05 a.m. PT on Sportsnet.

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