The Phillies played seven weeks without J.P. Crawford as he nursed his broken left hand. And they played just three games with him healthy before sending him to triple A.
Crawford was optioned to the minor leagues Tuesday afternoon to make room for Hector Neris, who will be granted another chance in the majors after pitching well for triple-A Lehigh Valley. The Phillies demoted Crawford instead of Scott Kingery, who entered Tuesday without a hit in 17 days and has a .563 OPS since May 1.
"As a direct comparison, Kingery has an incredible amount of development time at the major league level. He's had the opportunity to play all over the diamond, learned new positions. He's been really good at shortstop," Gabe Kapler said. "Whereas J.P. has missed some development time. Given the way our bench is set up right now with Justin Bour coming off, it's more than likely he's going to be the first left-handed pinch hitter off the bench. For J.P. as tough as it is, the role on the club…it's not a clear one. We thought it made the most sense to continue J.P.'s development for the next couple of weeks by getting him into a rhythm a little bit by allowing him to play regularly."
Crawford will likely return to the Phillies next month when rosters expand. For now, he will try to salvage a season that included two stints on the disabled list. Kingery has spent more time than Crawford in the majors, but it is clear that he too could benefit from an everyday role in the minors. Perhaps Crawford, even with so much time spent on the disabled list, could be a better threat off the bench than Kingery.
"For me, it's not a comparison like that," Kapler said when asked if Kingery could benefit develop time more than Crawford. "Both of our young players can benefit by playing regularly. But I also think Scotty can really benefit the major-league Phillies. And our first obligation is to win as many games as possible down the stretch, win the National League East and get into the postseason."
Wilson Ramos could be activated from the disabled list and join the Phillies on Wednesday after playing in three rehab games with high-A Clearwater.
Ramos, who the Phillies acquired at the trade deadline from Tampa Bay, has been sidelined since mid-July with a strained left hamstring. Ramos caught 14 innings over two games in Clearwater and reported to be "feeling especially healthy," Kapler said. He did not play in the minors on Tuesday, which seems to indicate that he is returning to Philadelphia to be further evaluated.
"With Wilson, we're discussing what his next steps are going to be. Nothing is set in stone and nothing is off the table," Kapler said.
The Phillies traded Jake Thompson to Milwaukee for cash considerations. Thompson was designated for assignment to make room for Justin Bour… Zach Eflin, who was optioned to triple A on Saturday but is expected to start Thursday for the Phillies, threw a bullpen session on Tuesday. Eflin has not yet been added to the triple-A roster, so where did he throw his bullpen session? "I'm not going to talk about where he threw his bullpen," Kapler said…Jerad Eickhoff made a rehab start with high-A Clearwater…Vince Velasquez will start Wednesday against Red Sox righthander Nathan Eovaldi.