The Blue Jays have placed outfielder George Springer on the 10-day injured list due to right elbow inflammation, with the placement retroactive to August 5. Utilityman Otto Lopez has been activated from the taxi squad to take Springer’s place on the active roster.
Springer has been dealing with a sore elbow for much of the season, with the injury apparently worsening over the last six weeks. The Jays have frequently rested Springer or used him as a DH, but since he has played in only two of Toronto’s last seven games, it seems as though a full IL stint was necessary to allow Springer to fully heal. Over his last 29 games and 130 plate appearances, Springer had a modest .226 / .310 / .409, so his bad elbow clearly seemed to be impacting his production.
A healthy Springer is critical to the Blue Jays’ chances of reaching the postseason and making a deep run into October, so the outfielder and the team can only hope that this IL trip will finally correct the elbow issue. Springer’s injury surely influenced the Jays’ decision to acquire Whit Merrifield at the trade deadline, and Merrifield now looks to get the bulk of center field time while Springer is out, with Raimel Tapia and backup Bradley Zimmer providing further depth.
Lopez could also be in the mix, as center field is one of four positions (along with left field, second base, and shortstop) he has played this season at Triple-A Buffalo. Lopez has also hit .267/.357/.424 over 246 PA with the Bisons. MLB Pipeline ranks Lopez as the fourth-best prospect in the Jays farm system, impressed by his plus speed and contact-hitting, even if Lopez seems to be lacking in power. The 23-year-old has appeared in exactly one MLB game in each of the 2021 and 2022 seasons.