When the Toronto Blue Jays signed free-agent outfielder George Springer to a six-year contract worth $150 million over the winter, they visualized him serving as a potent leadoff hitter and member of their ascending lineup. Though health issues delayed the realization of that plan, Springer delivered his first and second home runs since joining the Blue Jays on Saturday night against Charlie Morton and the Atlanta Braves.
Springer's first, an opposite-field blast, came during the bottom of the third. It was a two-run shot that cut the Braves' lead to 4-2. According to Statcast, Springer's home run left the bat traveling at 102.3 mph and covered some 354 feet to right field. Enough with the metrics, though, here are the pretty moving pictures:
Springer's second home run, meanwhile, tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh and came against reliever Luke Jackson. Statcast had it with a 116 exit velocity and covering 470 feet. Here, again, are the moving pictures:
Springer's appearance on Saturday was just his third with the Blue Jays. He missed most of April, and Toronto's first 22 games, because of a pair of injuries; first being sidelined by an oblique strain, and then, more recently, a strained quadriceps. Springer has served only in a designated hitter role in his first three appearances. That's likely to continue for a while longer as his quad remains less than 100 percent.
"I see him DHing a lot at the beginning just to keep him away from running every day in the outfield," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. The Blue Jays optioned Rowdy Tellez, who had started at DH in 10 of Toronto's first 22 games, to the alternate site (and soon Triple-A) to make room for Springer.
Springer was 1 for his first 7 coming into Saturday night's game. He had walked twice and had even stolen a base, matching his total from last season.
The Blue Jays entered Saturday in second place in the American League East with a 12-12 record. They were 3 ½ games behind the Boston Red Sox.