Crawford goes 1 for 4 in double-A debut with Reading

READING - Shortstop J.P. Crawford was admittedly tired but set off on the next journey of his baseball career with the help of adrenaline.

The Phillies' 2013 first-round pick (16th overall) arrived in Reading on Saturday afternoon and was in the lineup that night for his first double-A game, a 4-3 win over Richmond.

Crawford went 1 for 4 with an RBI and made an impressive ninth-inning fielding play, charging a grounder and showing his strong arm by throwing out the runner at first.

There were also a few rough patches, as Crawford made an error in the fourth inning and was picked off first base after his RBI single in the seventh.

Still, for somebody who was told late Friday that he was being promoted from single-A Clearwater and then arrived in Reading the next afternoon, it was quite an adventure. The 20-year-old Crawford is the youngest player in the Eastern League.

"It was tiring, but you have to play through it and it is your job," Crawford said.

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A lefthanded batter who was hitting second in the order, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Crawford has gotten noticeably stronger since he joined the organization.

"It feels real good playing under a great atmosphere and playing with people I played with before," Crawford said. "The team brought me in here, and I was comfortable."

He batted .392 in 21 games for Clearwater. It is possible Crawford would have started the season at Reading, but he suffered an oblique injury in mid-March and did not return until earlier this month.

He entered Saturday hitting .303 with an .804 OPS in 861 career minor-league plate appearances.

With centerfielder and 2011 second-round pick Roman Quinn leading off and Crawford hitting second, Reading has a dynamic top of the order.

"Hopefully both aren't here long, and hopefully we can get them to Philadelphia as quick as possible," Reading manager Dusty Wathan said. "It's exciting, you have speed guys who can change the game."

Crawford is already known for his unflappable manner, but even he admitted that his initial double-A game brought a level of tenseness.

"I was a little nervous but not that much, though," Crawford said.

The crowd of 8,010 at First Energy Stadium not only got to see Crawford for the first time, but also witnessed another vintage performance from the Phillies' top pitching prospect, righthander Aaron Nola.

The 2014 first-round pick allowed one earned run in seven innings, striking out seven and walking none. It was the seventh time in 10 appearances this season that he has allowed one earned run or none, and he lowered his ERA to 1.81.


mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard