Springer back, will stay aggressive on defense

Astros right fielder plans to try to angle himself better on wall collisions

Springer back, will stay aggressive on defense

HOUSTON -- The Astros welcomed George Springer back to the lineup Wednesday, starting him in right field while batting fourth against the Giants. Springer hadn't played since May 5, when he suffered a concussion crashing into the right-field wall against the Rangers while making a terrific catch.

"It's nice to have him back," manager A.J. Hinch said. "I mean, we missed his energy, we missed a lot of what he brings behind the scenes. So it's pretty easy to write his name in the lineup when he's back. I'm sure the guys will warn him of the wall being in right field, make sure he's aware, but it's good to have him back."

Springer, who played one game on a Minor League rehab Tuesday, said he's felt normal for about three days and doesn't have any symptoms.

"I've missed these guys the last few days," he said. "This is my team. It's hard to stay home and watch the game online and stuff like that. I'm excited to be here."

Springer, who's hitting .192 with four homers, 12 RBIs and 10 stolen bases, said he's not really going to change the high-flying way he plays defense, though he conceded he'd try not to contact the wall with his head anymore.

"I plan on hitting it with my back or something like that," he said. "You can't regret the decision to go after the ball because that's when you start to be somebody that you're not or play a certain way. You can't play scared."

Hinch said he doesn't want to stymie Springer's aggressive style of play in the outfield, but he wants him to be more aware of his surroundings so he can keep him on the field.

"It's nothing that we want to make too big a deal out of because I know he has one game speed, but it's an ongoing conversation that started before Spring Training started," he said. "Even in the offseason, we were talking about angling himself when he does run into walls, when he does get close to walls, on his running catches.

"He made a sliding catch I think a couple days prior to running into the wall that we saw as progress because he went feet first and slid and made a catch. So it's a work in progress with him but I love the way he plays."

The way Springer see it, he's got one job on defense.

"My job is if the ball gets hit," he said, "I'm supposed to go catch it."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.