The clearest sign yet of J.P. Crawford’s imminent arrival to the majors appeared Wednesday afternoon as the Phillies slogged to another lost doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park. Freddy Galvis trotted to center field for the first time in his life.
He has played a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop and started the season’s first 131 games there. But club officials are high on Crawford, who could be the franchise’s shortstop of the future. So, to lessen the potential awkwardness of the situation, Galvis was pushed from his position before Crawford arrived.
Everyone, for now, played nice. The Phillies informed Galvis of their intentions earlier this week when general manager Matt Klentak and manager Pete Mackanin invited him to a meeting.
You’ll play all 162 games, they told Galvis, but they may not all be at shortstop.
“It doesn’t matter where they put me,” Galvis said after a 5-2 loss in the day’s second game. “I’m going to play hard and try to win that day.”
Mackanin danced around what could be a difficult dynamic for him. Galvis is a respected, maybe the most respected, member in the clubhouse. His offensive production remains below average. But his defense is pristine. He has grown into a leadership role in 2017.
The Phillies manager said playing Galvis in center was just part of a larger plan to increase options. For example, Mackanin said, Maikel Franco may play some first base in September. Cesar Hernandez could see time at shortstop. He wanted to see Pedro Florimon, a 30-year-old journeyman who spent all of the season in the minors, at shortstop.
So this had nothing to do with Crawford?
“Well, it might,” Mackanin said.
Crawford’s debut could come Tuesday in New York. The minor-league season ends Monday. Crawford, 22, has seen time in recent weeks at third base and second base while with triple-A Lehigh Valley. He may not play much at shortstop in September. But a more uncomfortable situation was possible if Galvis did not move from shortstop until later in the season, with Crawford displacing him.
“That wasn’t the intent but it’s a good point,” Mackanin said. “In the event that he does come up — and I haven’t been told definitively that he would be coming up — it would certainly make it a little easier.”
Galvis said his meeting with Klentak and Mackanin was “good.”
“September is a time where they see a lot of new players, a lot of young players,” Galvis said. “That was the conversation. … That’s why I’m playing center field a little bit right now. But I’m good, man. Like I said, I just want to win. I just want to have the best team here in Philadelphia. I’m just trying to do something good.”
Rhys Hoskins extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in each one Wednesday. He was named the International League’s MVP and rookie of the year earlier in the day. That made him the first Phillies farmhand to win the triple-A MVP award since Shane Victorino in 2005. … The Phillies will start Ben Lively against Miami righthander Odrisamer Despaigne in Thursday’s series opener.