June 20: The Phillies have formally placed Crawford on the 10-day disabled list. Infielder Mitch Walding has been recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley for his second stint with the Phillies in 2018.
June 19: Phillies shortstop/third baseman J.P. Crawford suffered a broken left hand upon being hit by a pitch in tonight’s game, tweets MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. He’ll be out for the next four to six weeks as he recovers from the injury.
The 23-year-old Crawford, a former first-round pick and long one of the game’s top prospects, has struggled to this point in 2018, hitting just .194/.312/.333 with a pair of homers, five doubles, a triple and two steals (in two attempts). He’d already missed a bit more than a month with a forearm strain and now, unfortunately, is headed for another prolonged absence.
With Crawford back on the shelf, the Phillies will likely give Maikel Franco and Scott Kingery regular at-bats on the left side of the infield. Franco has recently been relegated to a part-time role but voiced a desire to remain with the organization in spite of his reduced playing time. Now, with Crawford sidelined, he’ll likely get another opportunity to prove that he’s capable of emerging as the regular, middle-of-the-order presence the Phils envisioned when he, too, was considered one of the game’s elite prospects.
Of course, an injury on the left side of the infield only figures to further fuel speculation about the Phils making a run at the Orioles’ Manny Machado. Phillies president Andy MacPhail, GM Matt Klentak and assistant GM Ned Rice have all previously worked in the Orioles’ front office, and the Phillies have received scarce production from the entire left side of their infield as a whole.
That said, there’s been little beyond speculation connecting the two sides since the offseason, and there’ll be no shortage of other clubs showing significant interest in Machado. Realistically, given the lackluster production from the combination of Crawford, Franco (.243/.288/.416) and Kingery (.222/.278/.335), Crawford’s injury may not even move the needle much as far as the team’s interest in Machado; the club was already receiving poor enough output that it’d be logical to expect them to explore the possibility of a Machado acquisition with or without a healthy Crawford in the fold.