Phillies facing a decision on whether to send down Scott Kingery or J.P. Crawford

Kingery-Crawford
Scott Kingery or J.P. Crawford could be heading back to the minors following the Phillies’ acquisition of Justin Bour on Friday.

SAN DIEGO — Justin Bour is coming to join the Phillies’ roster, so someone must be leaving.

Scott Kingery, perhaps?

Or maybe J.P. Crawford?

The Phillies planned on holding off on a decision until after Friday night’s series-opener here against the San Diego Padres. But with Bour expected to arrive Saturday after being acquired in a waiver trade with the Miami Marlins, manager Gabe Kapler and team officials were already discussing how they would clear a roster spot.

It’s possible the Phillies could option a reliever to triple-A Lehigh Valley. It’s far likelier, though, that either Kingery or Crawford — infielders who will play a reserve role behind recently acquired shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera — will be sent down, at least for the next three weeks, until rosters expand on Sept. 1.

The Phillies could easily explain a move to option Crawford. He was reinstated from the disabled list Friday, after missing seven weeks with a broken left hand, and got only 28 plate appearances on his rehab assignment at high-A Clearwater. Playing every day and getting more at-bats could be beneficial to Crawford as he returns from the injury.

But Kingery has the lowest OPS (.588) of any hitter in the National League with enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title. He has 99 strikeouts in 367 at-bats and entered Friday night in an 0-for-20 funk. Kingery hasn’t had a hit since July 27, the day the Phillies traded for Cabrera.

After signing Kingery to a six-year, $24 million contract at the end of spring training, the Phillies have kept him in the big leagues all season despite his struggles. But three weeks in triple-A might serve to boost his confidence and make him a more productive player in September and beyond.

“I think we’ve reached a point in the season where it’s about winning baseball games,” general manager Matt Klentak said. “We’ve been pretty conscious all year long of trying to be competitive while also promoting development, and I think at this point we need to start focusing on winning baseball games. We’re going to do whatever we have to do.”

Regardless, Kingery and Crawford will be used mostly in reserve roles when they’re on the bench, with Kapler stating that Cabrera and Maikel Franco will be the primary shortstop and third baseman, respectively.

“Cabrera is going to play a good bit,” Kapler said. “And Maikey Franco has been really good for two months straight, so those guys have earned the opportunity in a playoff run to play quite a bit.”

Hoskins gets engaged

A day off in San Diego is a welcome rarity for an East Coast team, and Phillies leftfielder Rhys Hoskins made the most of it. Hoskins proposed to his girlfriend, Jayme Bermudez, on the beach Thursday evening.

Hoskins marked another occasion Friday: the one-year anniversary of his call-up to the majors. Through 155 games, he batted .258, slugged .539, and reached base at a .379 clip. He hit 40 home runs, collected 120 RBI, drew 103 walks, and struck out 153 times.

Extra bases

Klentak said catcher Wilson Ramos continues to progress from a left hamstring injury. Ramos has been working out at the Phillies’ spring-training facility in Clearwater, and the team remains hopeful that he will be ready to play before the end of the month. … Phillies first-round draft pick Alec Bohm has begun a rehab assignment in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League after missing one month with a bruised shin. … What did Kapler do on his day off in San Diego? He found a dentist and got his teeth cleaned.

 

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