Springer Could Arrive In Houston Sooner Than Expected
KISSIMMEE, Fla.—George Springer
isn't just ahead of schedule. He could become the Astros' first real building block.
The 23-year-old center fielder smacked two rocket-like home runs during
his first-ever spring training start, going 3-for-6 during his initial
four games with seven RBIs, four runs and two walks.
Granted, Springer has never played above Double-A and the No. 11 overall
pick of the 2011 draft out of Connecticut is likely to spend the
majority of 2013 at Triple-A Oklahoma City. But the 6-foot-3, 200-pound
outfielder's alluring combination of power, speed and natural instinct
has Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow—who's often preached patience
developing the club's top minor leaguers—considering Springer for the
majors earlier than expected.
"With a prospect like George, we'll put him in the right place for him,"
Luhnow said. "We won't put him in a place because of five other players
we're trying to shift around."
Luhnow acknowledged Springer, who hit .316/.398/.557 with high Class A
Lancaster before a late-season callup to Double-A in 2012, might be best
suited to begin 2013 in Corpus Christi. But if he continues to impress
the Astros during spring training, the organization is open to
accelerating his path with an eye on 2014.
"He'll show us when he's ready," Luhnow said.
Springer spent an interview before a spring training game against the
Blue Jays saying he simply wanted to play his part on a rebuilding team
featuring veterans such as Rick Ankiel
and Carlos Pena
. But Springer's
talent soon took over. He clubbed a homer to right-center field,
following it up with a three-run blast to left-center.
"He's very mature, and he knows that he belongs," Astros manager Bo
Porter said. "He's not here trying to figure out, 'Am I a big league
player?' I think he knows he's a big league player."
Springer also acted like a proven vet as soon as his two-homer game was
complete. He praised his teammates and pulled out a one-game-at-a-time
quote when asked about his intriguing power.
"It's done," Springer said. "The bats happened . . . and now it's on to (the next) game."
• First baseman Jonathan Singleton
, suspended 50 games for failing a
minor league drug test, will participate in extended spring training and
is expected to spend 2013 in Triple-A Oklahoma City.
• Nate Freiman
started spring training 5-for-15 with three RBIs. The
first baseman was competing for a spot on the Astros' roster after being
acquired in the 2012 Rule 5 draft.