Outfielder George Springer’s debut with the Toronto Blue Jays will have to wait.
The team announced Wednesday that the prized off-season signing will begin the season on the injured list with a Grade 2 left oblique strain.
“(His latest) MRI showed improvement. Our hope is to get him back as soon as possible,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. “We’re doing what’s best for him.”
Springer, 31, signed a six-year, $150 million contract in January after seven seasons with the Houston Astros.
Toronto opens the season in the Bronx on Thursday against the New York Yankees. Springer travelled with the club and is doing “baseball activities,” Montoyo said.
Springer batted .265 with 14 homers and 32 RBIs in 51 regular-season games last season. He hit four more home runs in 13 post-season games. The three-time All-Star is a .270 lifetime hitter with 174 home runs and 458 RBIs in 795 games.
Left-handed starter Robbie Ray will also begin the season on the IL after injuring his elbow falling down some stairs at his home.
Right-hander Ross Stripling will take Ray’s place as the starter for Saturday’s second game of the series with the Yankees.