Springer: “I’m itching to get back out there.”
Astros right-fielder George Springer was out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game Friday with a strained right hip flexor. He told reporters he still felt a little bit of stiffness, but maintains he can play.
Springer suffered the injury in the ninth inning Wednesday in Anaheim when he dived back into first base on a pickoff attempt. He hobbled off the field and showed up at Safeco Field on Thursday sore, but able to play. Alex Presley started in right field for the second game in a row.
“I think I can play every day,” Springer said. “Not much has changed since I first got here. I want to play. I feel like I can play. At the same time, you’ve got to be smart and just take it as they go. I want to play and want to try to help us.”
Springer took some early batting practice without any problems.
“Certain things will affect it,” he said. “It’s just a little stiffness and I can play through it. You’ve got to be smart. You can’t try to overdue things now just because I want to get back out there, so I trust [head athletic trainer] Nate [Lucero]. I trust them and have to listen to them and not try to go to do something when I’m not 100 percent, I guess.”
Astros manager Bo Porter said Thursday that Springer’s status was day to day and that he didn’t want to rush him back to action.
“I’m itching to get back out there,” Springer said. “Whenever I can get back out there, whenever I get the chance to get back out there, I’ll go back out there.”
Springer entered Friday hitting .240 with four homers and 15 RBIs. He’s hitting .353 during a five-game hitting streak that included a homer Wednesday against Jered Weaver. His four homers in May are tied for fifth most all-time in club history by a rookie.
In his last 19 games, Springer ranks second among Major League rookies in hits (22), second in batting average (.282), RBIs (13) and OPS (.851) and tied for third in homers (four).