Crawford, Phils must readjust again after injury

June 20th, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- stood at his locker in the Phillies' clubhouse before Wednesday afternoon's 4-3 win over the Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park with a wrapped left hand and a look of disappointment. A bone on the top of that hand is broken. Depending on how it heals, the rookie third baseman could be on the disabled list until August. He almost certainly won't play again before the All-Star break.
"Plain and simple, it sucks," Crawford said. "I mean, I want to be out there playing with my teammates and helping them win. But you know, can't do anything about it. Just part of the game. Just going to try to better as quick as I can and help my team out."
The break is not complete and won't require surgery, Crawford said. He is expected to miss four to six weeks. was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Crawford's spot on the active roster.
It happened when a 93.8-mph fastball from Cardinals starting pitcher hit Crawford's left hand on a check swing during the fourth inning of the Phillies' 7-6 loss at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night. Crawford immediately popped out of the box and doubled over in pain. After a lengthy check from the Phils' trainer and manager Gabe Kapler, Crawford took his base and stayed in the game, but he was replaced by at third base the next inning.
"Once I looked at it and it started swelling up, and my knuckle looked completely different," Crawford said, "I knew something was wrong from the get-go."
In his first full season as a Major Leaguer, Crawford has been stripped of the chance to find any sort of rhythm. He started slowly in April, posting a .246 on-base percentage despite his reputation for bringing a disciplined approach to the plate. Then a right forearm strain sidelined Crawford from April 28 through the end of May.
Since his return from the DL on June 6, though, Crawford had gone 6-for-29 while drawing eight walks to earn a .425 OBP in that span.
"I was getting comfortable," Crawford said. "It was just a part of getting reps, getting at-bats, getting back into the sort of things -- and then to just have this freak accident happen."
Those reps were a product of Crawford's permanent move to third base while the Phillies experiment with at shortstop. The pairing relegated a struggling Franco to the bench. Two weeks into that arrangement, the left side of the infield must change again.
Kapler said Franco will get "plenty of looks" at third, while will see some time, too. Walding, who went 0-for-6 with six strikeouts during a week with the Phillies at the beginning of the month, primarily plays third base.
"It's really tough," Kapler said. "I feel for [Crawford], the man. I feel for him, the player. He worked really hard to get back here.
"[Crawford's] at-bats had been really coming around. They've been longer. He's been seeing the ball really well. He's been good on defense -- really good on defense at third base. I think he was in a confident space and I think the whole clubhouse really cares for J.P. Disappointed for him, disappointed for us. It's a big loss."