Blue Jays recruit Springer to miss Opening Day after landing on IL

By Sports Desk March 31, 2021

The Toronto Blue Jays will be without prized recruit George Springer on Opening Day after he was added to the injured list with an oblique strain.

Springer – lured to Toronto on a six-year, $150million contract via free agency, the largest deal in franchise history – was in doubt for Thursday's season opener against the New York Yankees after straining his oblique muscle during Spring Training.

The youthful and exciting Blue Jays, who returned to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2016, have exercised caution over their big-money addition as they prepare to face American League (AL) East rivals the Yankees in New York.

"I'm hoping for as soon as possible but we have to go day-to-day," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters on Wednesday.

"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."

Springer – World Series champion and MVP with the Houston Astros in 2017 – leads MLB with 136 home runs from the lead-off spot since 2015. The Blue Jays as a team have 129 homers from the lead-off spot over that time, per Stats Perform.

A two-time Silver Slugger, Springer has 39 lead-off home runs in his career – fourth most all-time behind Rickey Henderson (73), Ian Kinsler (48) and Brady Anderson (44).

Springer has recorded seven career World Series home runs – most from the lead-off spot all-time – and he is 19-for-56 (.339) in the World Series in his career. No other current Blue Jays player has a World Series hit in their career.

The three-time All-Star's 174 home runs since debuting in MLB via Houston are third most by an Astro in a player's first seven career seasons, behind only Jeff Bagwell (187) and Lance Berkman (180).

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    Williams played through the injury as the Niners booked their place in the conference title game with a dramatic 13-10 road win over the top-seeded Green Bay Packers.

    He had missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but was out on the field, albeit walking slowly, before the Niners made their departure for Los Angeles on Friday.

    San Francisco claimed a sixth successive win over the Rams in the final week of the regular season, coming back from 17-0 down to prevail in overtime, to clinch a place in the playoffs.

    The Niners achieved that feat without Williams, who missed that clash due to an elbow problem.

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    "And so I'll be surprised if he doesn't, but I was surprised last time. I was also surprised he was able to finish the game versus Green Bay.

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    Williams' influence on the Niners' passing offense and their rushing attack cannot be overstated.

    According to Stats Perform data, he ranked fourth among tackles with at least 100 one-on-one matchups in the regular season with a stunt-adjusted win pass protection win percentage of 91.81.

    In double-team adjusted run-block win rate, he was second with 81.56 per cent.

    Colton McKivitz, who filled in against the Rams in Week 18, would likely get the start at left tackle if Williams is unable to play.

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    So how has a week of action in which the Chiefs were victorious flipped the odds against Kansas City?

    Hollywood ending in store for LA?

    Rest-of-season or, in this case, postseason projection, projects every future game to give a predicted win percentage for each team across its remaining games. Rather than being a simulator of future games, the projections are calculated by looking at each team's quarterback and QB efficiency versus expected – performance in terms of yards added in expected passing situations – as well as team values for pass protection/pass rush, skill position players/coverage defenders and run blocking/run defense.

    For the playoffs, the projection has been used to calculate each team's odds of winning a home game against every postseason team, with those predictions then used to forecast each franchise's chances of reaching and winning the Super Bowl.

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    So, is everybody ready for Niners-Bengals?

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