The Houston Astros are sending outfielder George Springer on a rehab assignment with the Quad Cities River Bandits, who will open a seven-game homestand at 7 p.m. Monday against Burlington at Modern Woodmen Park. Springer is scheduled to play three games Monday through Wednesday with the River Bandits.
Springer is the fourth Houston Astros player on the major league roster to appear with Quad Cities in the last 15 months, and his rehab appearance is the second by a major leaguer for the Midwest League club this season. Astros right-hander Anthony Bass pitched three games for the River Bandits June 24, 26 and 29. Right-hander Josh Fields pitched twice at Modern Woodmen Park May 10 and 13, 2013. Astros first baseman Jon Singleton played six games and hit three home runs with Quad Cities May 28-June 3, 2013.
"We are so delighted to welcome George Springer to the Quad Cities," said River Bandits owner Dave Heller. "George Springer is the biggest name rehab player that Quad Cities has had in nearly a decade, and a true budding star, and it will be a great treat for the Quad Cities fans to get to meet him, watch him play and get his autograph."
In his first major league season, the 24-year-old Springer has hit 20 home runs, one shy of the Astros rookie record of 21 set by Lance Berkman in 2000. Since joining Houston April 16, Springer has already set the franchise rookie records with 19 home runs and 50 RBIs before the All-Star Break. In 78 games, he holds a .231 batting average and ranks second on the Astros this season in home runs, runs (48), RBIs (51), and walks (39). All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve (.821) is the only Astro with a higher on-base-plus-slugging percentage than Springer (.804).
When he was placed on the disabled list July 23 (retroactive to July 20) with a left quad strain, Springer was second among American League outfielders in home runs and seventh in OPS. He also ranked in the top three among all major league rookies in home runs (second), RBIs (51, second), slugging percentage (.468, second), walks (39, first), on-base percentage (.336, 2nd) and runs (45, third).
A native of New Britain, Conn., Springer was the Astros' first-round (11th overall) pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, becoming the highest-drafted player in University of Connecticut baseball history. He entered the 2014 season ranked as the Astros' No. 2 prospect by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.
In 2013, Springer became the first minor leaguer in four years - and first-ever Astros minor leaguer - to hit at least 30 home runs and steal at least 30 bases. He was named Minor League Baseball's 2013 Offensive Player of the Year and the Astros Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .303 with 27 doubles, four triples, 37 homers, 108 RBI, 45 stolen bases and a 1.010 OPS (.411 OBP/.600 SLG) combined between Triple-A Oklahoma City and Double-A Corpus Christi. He was also the Double-A Texas League Player of the Year and joined Delino DeShields and former River Bandit Carlos Correa as Houston's representatives in the All-Star Futures Game.
"For the Astros to send two of their top prospects and now major league players - Jon Singleton and George Springer - in addition to two major league pitchers to the Quad Cities, shows the great priority they place on the affiliation and partnership with the River Bandits," said River Bandits General Manager Andrew Chesser.
Quad Cities (21-21 second half, 56-55 overall) has a three-game home series Monday through Wednesday against the Burlington Bees, followed by a four-game home series against the Beloit Snappers Thursday through Sunday.
UP NEXT: On Markdown Monday presented by 97X, the River Bandits will offer $2 bleacher and berm tickets, hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn, nachos, soda and beer. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. game, and an All-You-Can-Ride Amusements Pass is just $10. On Dew For Twosday presented by Pepsi, WOC and Q106.5, all tickets are buy-one-get-one free, Kids Eat Free, and fans can bring an old Mountain Dew can to the ballpark and receive a voucher for a free 16-ounce soda. Pay Your Bill Wednesday presented by U.S. Bank and Mix96 means two fans will have their bills paid up to $100 by the River Bandits, and for Ninja Turtles Night, fans who wear a Ninja Turtles shirt will receive $1 off the regular ticket price, and fans in a Ninja Turtles costume will receive $2 off the regular ticket price. Tickets are available at www.riverbandits.com.
ABOUT THE BANDITS: Having just been named Ballpark Digest's winner of Best Ballpark Improvement in America under $1 million, the River Bandits ownership recently made one of the biggest improvements to Modern Woodmen Park since the ballpark was first built back in 1931! A new Ferris wheel, standing 105 feet over the playing field, opened May 24, and Space Camp opened June 20; the newly expanded 300-foot long zip line has also reopened. In 2013, the team unveiled a new 220-foot long dual zip line, a rock climbing wall, and a number of new bounce houses. Last season, the team's major league affiliate, the Houston Astros, saw all six of its affiliates reach the playoffs - the first time in a decade any MLB team can claim such success. The River Bandits were one of three affiliates to reach the championship round and one of two to win their league championship.