Hunter understands Springer's growing pains

Hunter understands Springer's growing pains

DETROIT -- Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter, who was the favorite player of Astros rookie George Springer when he was growing up, said the struggling outfielder is simply learning to adjust to life in the Major Leagues. Springer entered Monday hitting .185 with five RBIs in 65 at-bats, but he hit a second-inning single off Max Scherzer.

"That's what he's supposed to do," Hunter said. "It's time for him to make adjustments. That's when you know he's a big leaguer, when he makes the adjustments. How's he going to finish? The first half, they're going to figure him out, and he's going to have to figure them out and battle. If he has a great second half, that shows that he's going to be a big leaguer.

"Just let him go through his struggles and find his way out of it. You have to. You have to expect that from a young guy who's trying to learn."

Springer and Hunter were introduced to each other by Astros manager Bo Porter during Spring Training a year ago. Springer watched Hunter play as a Minor Leaguer in the late 1990s in New Britain, Conn., which is Springer's hometown. Springer had actually originally met Hunter when he was 8 years old.

"I'm glad they brought him up and let him get a cup of coffee and know what it's all about," Hunter said. "Let him see some pitching and how they do things up here. How else is he going to learn?"

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for 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.