SEATTLE -- After opening eyes with his strong play at shortstop and a solid showing at the plate in his first 17 games with the Mariners, J.P. Crawford was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left ankle sprain on Wednesday and likely will miss several weeks.
Manager Scott Servais said the injury wasn’t as serious as initially feared when Crawford rolled the ankle trying to avoid a tag in a rundown at third base in Tuesday night’s 11-4 loss to the Rangers, but his absence will be notable given the 24-year-old’s immediate impact in helping solidify Seattle’s infield defense.
Crawford was on crutches with his left foot in a boot to immobilize the injury on Wednesday morning before Seattle's 8-7 loss to Texas, but the Mariners were breathing easier after X-rays showed no ligament tears and revealed a normal sprain, not the feared “high ankle sprain” that can lead to lengthier layoffs.
“We’re lucky it’s not worse,” Servais said. “It’s disappointing because he’s been playing so good. But I talked to him after the game last night and stuff happens. He didn’t look down or anything.
“It’s going to be hard for him to sit and watch the next couple weeks because he was working his way into being a real contributor and feeling like he’s part of things, but he’ll be back out there soon enough.”
Crawford was one of the Mariners’ key offseason additions, acquired from the Phillies as part of the Jean Segura trade with the expectation he'd be groomed as the Mariners’ shortstop of the future. He hit .319 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 31 games with Tacoma before being promoted on May 10.
The youngster put up a .279/.343/.426 line with six doubles, one homer and five RBIs in 61 at-bats for the Mariners. More important, Crawford looked like a legitimate part of the team's future and he was playing with confidence.
“How you carry yourself really means a lot to me,” Servais said. “I told him that the first day he got here and he nailed it. And he was playing great on top of that. He’s really taken charge [at shortstop]. You saw him the last couple games, moving [rookie second baseman] Shed Long around. ‘Hey, Shed, come with me, you’re supposed to be over here.’ This is J.P., who is 24, and he wants to be that guy to lead.
“He’ll be back out there in a couple weeks and we’ll get him going again, but a lot of encouraging signs from him. He has stabilized things defensively for us.”
Beckham, a six-year Major League veteran, opened the season at shortstop and has posted a .257/.311/.497 line with nine homers and 27 RBIs. But Beckham has committed 12 errors in 47 games for a team that has the most errors in the Major Leagues.
Crawford has two errors in his first 17 games and showed good range as well. In his previous stints with the Mariners this year, Moore has started four games at shortstop in addition to five at third base, three at second and one in left field while batting .212 with two home runs in 52 at-bats.
Both went on the IL on May 21 and will be eligible to return by Friday, though clearly both will need more time before being ready.