The Astros avoided a catastrophe.
Tests on George Springer’s injured left hamstring revealed a Grade 2 strain, general manager Jeff Luhnow said Saturday.
Springer will be sidelined indefinitely — much longer than the prescribed 10 days he must stay on the injured list — but given the gloom that surrounded the injury on Friday night, the news was welcomed.
“It’s not as dramatic as we’d feared,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “(Team doctors) were encouraged by their findings and their observations. He’s really sore. He’s not going to do anything for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, if the initial diagnosis is right, we’ve avoided a catastrophe after what it looked like on the field.”
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Springer departed Friday’s 4-3 win against the Red Sox after sprinting for a foul ball along the right field line during the eighth inning. Springer slid to avoid crashing into the wall. After the game, Springer said he felt his hamstring “lock up.”
Springer voluntarily removed himself from the game and limped toward the dugout. He slammed his glove on the bench in frustration. Hinch offered a grim postgame prognosis, saying he was “not looking forward to the diagnosis.”
“It could have been worse based on how he was feeling last night,” Luhnow said Saturday.
Springer was unavailable for comment prior to Saturday’s game against the Red Sox. Derek Fisher was recalled from Class AAA Round Rock to take Springer’s spot on the 25-man roster.
Both Jose Altuve and Aledmys Diaz suffered Grade 1 hamstring strains earlier this season. Those are typically more day-to-day injuries and — in Diaz’ case — do not even require a trip to the injured list. Grade 2 strains often do involve a partial tear of the muscle.
“We’re probably looking at a couple weeks plus,” Luhnow said. “But it depends. I’ve had plenty of these in the past that have lasted a month. We’re not going to put a timeframe on it, but we know he’s going to miss some time right now.”
The injury stagnates Springer’s ascension atop American League leaderboards and a season that started better than any of his five that preceded it.
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Springer entered Saturday the AL leader in home runs and RBI. His 1.032 OPS was seventh among all qualified major league hitters. Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs both valued Springer at 2.7 wins above replacement — higher than any of his Astros teammates.
“He’s obviously having a career year and has been our best player this year and we need him back,” Luhnow said. “I think the rest will be good and we’ll get him back out there as soon as we can.”
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