BOSTON — George Springer sat out the final game before the all-star break and skipped the Midsummer Classic to give his troublesome right elbow as much recovery time as possible.
That still wasn’t enough for him to be back atop the Toronto Blue Jays lineup for Friday’s series opener against the Boston Red Sox, and he conceded: “I'm going to have to fight through stuff all year.”
“It kind of is what it is. Still trying to fight through some stuff. But I'll be alright,” he added in a brief interview after completing his on-field work. “Between the break and now, we’re just trying to buy an extra day to make sure that it's right and when it is, I’ll go back out.”
When that might be is far from certain, although playing Saturday “is the goal and that's my hope,” Springer said. “Felt good today, so that’s a good start and I’ll go from there.”
The star centre fielder has been dealing with the elbow soreness — described by interim manager John Schneider as “inflammation” on Friday — for at least several weeks. He’s started 77 times and appeared in 82 of the club’s 94 games this season, batting .250/.330/.474 with 17 homers, 42 RBIs, 53 runs scored and nine stolen bases in 10 attempts.
Both he and the Blue Jays have guarded details of the injury — “it's hard to explain,” he replied to ask how the elbow injury hampered his play — but with 2.2 WAR as calculated by Fangraphs already on his ledger, his impact this season is clear.
Oblique, quad and knee injuries limited Springer to 78 games in 2021, when he still produced 2.4 WAR.
“Last year was a learning process for him, us, everybody,” Schneider said. “Rather than going down that road again where it's like you get a three-quarter George Springer, you get 100 per cent George Springer. If we have that, it sets us up well down the stretch. He's open and honest with us and putting all of our heads together, it made the most sense (to sit) today.”
The Blue Jays planned to reassess the reaction of his elbow to Friday’s pre-game work, but Springer acknowledged that any activity “aggravates it.”
He said there’s been no discussion of a possible stint on the injured list to rest the elbow “that I’m aware of” and he wanted to rest “enough to feel good” once back on the field.
“You don't really fully heal until the off-season,” Springer said. “Hopefully I can feel better tomorrow and play and I'll go from there.”