PHILADELPHIA -- J.P. Crawford was placed on the 10-day disabled list on May 21 with a right forearm strain, and Scott Kingery has assumed most of the innings at shortstop since.After starting at short just six times through April, Kingery has started six of the last seven games at the
PHILADELPHIA -- J.P. Crawford was placed on the 10-day disabled list on May 21 with a right forearm strain, and Scott Kingery has assumed most of the innings at shortstop since.
After starting at short just six times through April, Kingery has started six of the last seven games at the position. It's been an adjustment from the utility role Kingery had assumed after signing a long-term contract at the end of Spring Training and beginning the season in the big leagues.
In his latest injury update Friday, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said the team is moving Crawford "along at his pace."
"What's appropriate for [Crawford]," Kapler said. "Things are kind of progressing naturally, we're not slowing it down or making it go faster."
A natural second baseman, Kingery started two games at shortstop late last season in Triple-A. He also saw some time there this spring. But there is still a learning curve.
"Every ball hit to me, every time I'm playing there in a game," Kingery said. "It helps makes it feel more natural out there."
During Saturday's 2-1 win over the Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park, Kingery displayed how much he's improved, making two impressive stops in the field. In the fifth, Kingery, playing in a shift, advanced on a grounder up the middle from the right side of the infield and threw across his body in time to get Yangervis Solarte at first.
His manager was impressed.
"[Kingery] looked like a shortstop today," Kapler said postgame.
Among the toughest challenges for Kingery is the fact that the throwing angles differ from what he's used to on the other side of the infield. He's trying to be more aware of the runner's speed, because he doesn't have the luxury of sitting back anymore.
"Shortstop," Kingery said, "requires more defensive aggression."
He has to attack ground balls.
"At second base you have a ton of time to kind of sit back," Kingery said. "It's just knowing the speed of the runner and knowing when I have time to take an extra shuffle, or take some time, or when I have to be quick and get rid of it as soon as it gets in my glove."
That same aggression is something Kingery has tried to bring to the plate. He's hit just .189 with three walks in 57 plate appearances this month. But two of those walks have come in the Phillies' last two games. Kingery said he feels like he's taking "baby steps" to finding comfort in the batter's box. He's tried to leave behind an approach that leads to watching pitches go by for called strikes.
"For me, it's not about being patient. I think I was being very defensive at the plate," Kingery said. " ... For me, it was just, be aggressive, but look for a pitch in the spot you want. If I do that, and I lay off other pitches that I can't drive, then hopefully they'll start to see that and try to nibble a little bit, which will eventually lead to more walks."
That is something Kingery can work on no matter what position he's playing. His playing time will be spread across the diamond when Crawford returns. For now, though, Kingery's progress at shortstop, where he has yet commit an error, has impressed the Phillies' skipper.
"I think he's got everything it takes to be a good shortstop in this league," Kapler said.
When the Phillies return from their upcoming 10-game road trip, they'll host the Brewers for a three-game set from June 8-10. The three-game series will be labeled Retro Weekend, with '90s-themed festivities every day. The weekend is a celebration of the 1993 National League champion Phillies team.
On Friday, June 8, fans will be encouraged to dress in their favorite '90s attire for '90s Retro Night. On Saturday, June 9, a 1:05 p.m. ET start time, fans will have photo opportunities with players from the 1993 team at Citizens Bank Park.
And the weekend will culminate with a 25th anniversary salute to the 1993 team. Arrival is suggested prior to 1 p.m. for pregame ceremonies.
** Joe Bloss ** is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.