UConn Standout Springer Debuts For Astros
HOUSTON (AP) – George Springer got his first game with the Houston Astros out of the way on Wednesday night.
Now he’s hoping things will calm down and he can just play ball.
Springer, a highly touted prospect and first-round draft pick, singled and walked in his major league debut in Houston’s 6-4 loss to Kansas City in 11 innings.
“It’s a dream come true to get an opportunity like this,” Springer said after the game. “I am looking forward to playing more games and helping this team win.”
Mike Moustakas homered in the 11th inning to lift the Royals to the victory. Moustakas has been off to a tough start this season and was hitting .098 before his solo shot to the seats in right field off Jerome Williams (0-1) to lead off the 11th.
Jarrod Dyson singled and added an insurance run on a fielder’s choice.
Danny Duffy (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win and Greg Holland allowed a hit and a walk in a scoreless 11th for his fifth save.
Springer is the first of a group of top prospects expected to help the Astros back to respectability after three straight 100-loss seasons.
Manager Bo Porter was happy with Springer’s debut.
“He handled himself well,” Porter said.
Springer got his first major league hit on a dribbler that traveled just a few feet down the third base line with one out in the third inning. His mother stood up and waved her hands in the air when he reached first base.
His parents flew in from Connecticut to be at Wednesday’s game and his father snapped pictures from his seat behind home plate.
“It’s always good to get that first one out of the way,” Springer said. “I didn’t really hit it all that well, but I will take it. Now I can relax, breathe a little bit and just have some fun.”
The 24-year-old outfielder had 37 homers and 108 RBIs with 45 stolen bases combined in Double-A and Triple-A last year. He was off to a strong start in Triple-A this season, too, hitting .353 with three homers and nine RBIs.
“The goal is to win, and it hurts to lose,” Springer said. “We don’t have a chance to win this series now, but we can get one back tomorrow.”
There was a buzz around the ballpark on Wednesday with Springer’s arrival. The hashtag `SpringerDay’ was trending on Twitter in Houston and fans were excitedly tweeting all day about his debut.
General manager Jeff Luhnow was a little giddy about Springer’s call-up, too.
“We don’t want to rest all our hopes on one player, but he’s a pretty good player and there’s more behind him,” Luhnow said.
“If he does well, I think it will lift our team (which) is now struggling a little bit and lift our city’s spirits and give us hope that there’s more like him coming. That’s exciting. That’s what we’ve been working for.”
Springer was selected 11th overall by the Astros out of UConn in the 2011 amateur draft. Manager Bo Porter said he will be Houston’s everyday right fielder.
“When you look at … the production in which he’s been putting up and if you look at the woes we’ve had offensively and trying to get our offense going and having a guy of his caliber that we can plug into our offense, he can definitely help,” Porter said.
Springer knows people are looking for big things from him, but is careful not to get caught up in the hype.
“The goal at the end of the day isn’t about the future, it isn’t about me, it isn’t about anybody else, it’s about the Houston Astros and that’s to go out and win,” he said.
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