George Springer was held out of the Astros’ lineup on Thursday and Friday after tweaking his hip flexor when he was picked off at first base by Angels starter Jered Weaver in the top of the ninth inning Wednesday night in Anaheim. He returned to action on Saturday and appeared refreshed, homering twice and driving in five total runs as Houston routed the host Mariners 9-4 at Seattle’s Safeco Field.
Check out both blasts here, courtesy of MLB.com:
Springer got off to a sluggish start following his April 16 promotion to the major leagues, but the talented 24-year-old outfielder now has a .963 OPS with six home runs and 16 RBI in 19 games this month.
Springer, a first-round pick in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, was a .319/.431/.630 hitter with 21 home runs in 75 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Baseball America rated him a Top 20 prospect this past winter.
Last night’s Angels-Astros game was a long affair with a bunch of homers and the use of 11 pitchers in all. The Angels used six pitchers and all of that business led to plenty of conferences. Six, in fact, which is their allotment under the new rule capping mound visits. As far as I can tell, that makes the Angels the first team to use up all of their mound visits since the advent of the rule.
Sadly, they did not try to go for a seventh, thereby testing the currently unknown limits of the rule. Umpires have been instructed to not allow additional mound visits, but they cannot issue balls or tackle anyone or anything to enforce it. Presumably, if Maldonado had walked out to talk to Cam Bedrosian about the weather or where he was going to dinner after the game, the home plate umpire would’ve simply done the old Robin Williams English policeman’s bit of yelling “Stop! . . . or I shall yell ‘Stop!’ again!” Maybe a fine would issue later, but we’ll never know.
At least until someone breaks the limit. And we know someone will, right? We should have a betting pool on who does it.