Posted on September 5, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
As the Houston Astros close in on another NL West title, their biggest concern in September is just staying healthy. In that sense, they could have a small problem. Center fielder George Springer has been diagnosed with a concussion after banging his head the outfield wall on Tuesday. He won’t be placed on the Injured List because of expanded rosters in September. But it’s an issue the Astros will take seriously with an eye toward the postseason.
Springer made a spectacular catch to rob Ryan Braun of a hit during Tuesday’s loss to the Brewers. After making the catch, he landed just short of the wall and his head whipped around and hit the padding near the base of the wall. He was on the ground for a few minutes complaining of a headache before being taken off on a cart. Springer was able to return to Houston with the team on Wednesday and diagnosed with what the team is calling a “mild concussion.”
“It was kind of weird because it was a tough spot and I don’t think he really heard me or Mike [Brantley] yelling he had room,” describes Josh Reddick, who was playing right field when Springer got hurt. “He went about it the best he could, and when he came down, all his momentum and his weight came down on kind of his lower back and his head hit the bottom of the wall and kind of jutted his head forward. He got a little bit of a whiplash, it looked like from my angle. Maybe he wedged himself into that gap under the wall, so that’s probably what caused him to have that headache kind of feeling.”
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The Astros are describing Springer’s status as day-to-day. If this had happened prior to rosters expanding, he would have been a candidate for the 7-day Concussion IL. But there’s no need for the Astros to take him off the active roster at this point. That could allow Springer to return to return sooner than seven days. The hope is that he’ll be ready to return to action next week.
Of course, the Astros will want to be careful with Springer, especially with a head injury. He’s been in the middle of the best season of his career, already setting a new career-high with 30 home runs. At the moment, Springer is hitting .297 with an OPS of .962. As evidenced by his catch on Tuesday, Springer is also playing terrific defense. If the Astros are going to win their second World Series in three years, Springer is someone they need to be fully healthy for the playoffs.
In the meantime, Jake Marisnick will likely fill in for the Astros in center field. He’s perhaps an upgrade defensively over Springer but is having a modest season offensively. Another option is shifting Reddick to center field, creating an opportunity for top prospect Kyle Tucker in right field. If he can translate his production at triple-A this year to the big leagues, Tucker could push his way onto Houston’s playoff roster, especially considering their lack of depth in the outfield.
However, the top priority for the Astros right now is making sure Springer is fully recovered before returning to the field. It may be a mild concussion, but the Astros will want to be careful. They need Springer more in October than they need him in September. As long as he’s back before the end of the regular season, there’s no rush in Spring returning from his concussion.