The Blue Jays are reinstating George Springer from the 10-day injured list, general manager Ross Atkins told reporters (including Scott Mitchell of TSN and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet). Fellow outfielder Josh Palacios is being optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to open an active roster spot.
Springer will work as a designated hitter for the time being, according to Atkins, as he continues to progress from the sprained left knee that has kept him out of action. While it’ll hurt not to have Springer patrolling center field in the near-term, getting anything at all this quickly is something of a blessing. The Jays didn’t release any sort of timetable on Springer’s return in the immediate aftermath of his injury, leading to fears it could be an extended absence. Instead, Springer returns to the lineup after fifteen days away.
That was Springer’s third separate IL stint during his first season in Toronto, as nagging quad issues kept him from playing regularly until late June. When healthy, Springer has been incredible. Through 211 plate appearances, the 31-year-old is hitting .269/.362/.610 and has already launched sixteen home runs. On a rate basis, that’s among the best performances of Springer’s career, as his 157 wRC+ matches his single-season high during his time with the Astros (which came in 2019).
Even without any defensive value, Springer performing at that level at the plate would be a huge boon for the Jays. At 68-61, Toronto has fallen to the periphery of the playoff picture, as they enter play tonight five and half games back of the Red Sox for the final postseason spot (with the A’s and Mariners also ahead of them). They’ll need a stellar run of play over the season’s final five weeks to get to the playoffs, but Springer’s return to the lineup increases their odds of pulling that off.