|© MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.|
Red-hot Springer homers twice07/10/2013 1:46 AM ET
By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com
George Springer grew up watching Manny Ramirez. On Tuesday night, he put on a show for him.
The Astros' No. 3 prospect homered twice, tripled and tied a career high with five RBIs in his first four-hit game of the season, but Triple-A Oklahoma City dropped an 11-8 decision at Round Rock.
Springer's second two-homer game in four days came against the Express, for whom Ramirez hit his first longball since joining the team on Sunday.
"I grew up watching him when he was with the Sox, being in that area," said Springer, a New Britain, Conn., native who attended the University of Connecticut. "It's one of those things that as a player you can't describe -- to play against a guy who's had so much success, a guy you watched as a kid, and now you're playing on the same field."
Springer's big night came two games after he slugged a a pair of two-run homers against New Orleans. He's riding a 12-game hitting streak, has had at least two hits in five of 13 games since he was promoted from Double-A Corpus Christi and is batting .422 with six homers and 15 RBIs in the Pacific Coast League.
So, does MLB.com's 47th overall prospect already have his new circuit figured out?
"No," Springer said. "Wherever you are, you have to go out every day and compete. Whatever happens, happens, but you've got to go out and play hard."
The 23-year-old outfielder noted that the boost in confidence that comes from hitting the ball well in one trip to the plate only helps so much the next time.
"It can" help, he said, "but at the same time, that other at-bat is over. You've got to go up there and understand what [the pitcher's] going to try to do once you get in the box again."
In Springer's first at-bat Tuesday, Round Rock starter Evan Meek missed high with his first pitch. The second one was up in the zone and Springer sent it over the left-center field fence for a two-run homer.
"That's something I've been working on a lot -- making sure if I get something up in the zone, I don't miss," he said. "I was fortunate enough to get something to drive. And in that situation there, with a runner on second base, if I get something I can handle, I can't miss."
He took Meek deep again on the first pitch he saw in the third inning.
"In that situation in the game," Springer said, "I'm just looking for something to hit, to hit the ball with some confidence."
An inning later, with two outs and a runner at first, Springer smacked Meek's 2-1 offering deep to center field. He wound up with a triple, although he wasn't thinking three bases out of the batter's box.
"I saw the flight of the ball and, with a guy on first, my instinct was to draw the throw to third," he explained. "I was going to stop and be out, but they cut off the throw and went home with it and [Brandon Laird] was safe."
Springer's fourth hit of the night was a dribbler in front of the pitcher's mound. And while it was a stark contrast to the towering fly balls he hit earlier, it allowed him to show off another tool.
"You've got to be able to utilize all aspects of your game," he said. "Speed is my main thing -- hit the ball hard and take off. It helps to know I have it in my back pocket so that if I hit it on the ground, I still have a shot to get on base."
Ramirez singled and scored in the second, slugged a two-run homer in the third and drew a bases-loaded walk in a six-run fourth that put Round Rock in front, 11-7.
Rangers top prospect Mike Olt singled and lifted a sacrifice fly but left the game in the seventh after taking a pitch to the helmet. He walked off the field under his own power.