The latest repercussions from Sunday’s benches-clearing brawl in Anaheim — player suspensions — have started for the Mariners.
On Thursday, shortstop J.P. Crawford was out of the starting lineup for the opener of the four-game series at T-Mobile Park vs. the Oakland A’s.
The Gold Glove shortstop confirmed that his appeal of a five-game suspension for fighting was somewhat successful with Major League Baseball reducing it to four games.
“I’m ready to just get it done with,” Crawford said.
During his suspension, Crawford can use the Mariners facilities and participate in all workouts before the game. But he cannot be anywhere in the building during the game.
Crawford was on the field for the early work along with his temporary replacement at shortstop Dylan Moore, recently called-up outfielder Marcus Wilson and injured outfielders Mitch Haniger and Kyle Lewis.
His plan is to participate in the early workouts before the full team workout while he’s suspended, focusing on hitting off the high-velocity pitching machines and extra batting practice. He’ll also do his normal fielding work as well.
Manager Scott Servais said that Moore will serve as the shortstop for the four games.
“It’s unfortunate for us, everybody knows what he does for us leading off and playing shortstop,” Servais said. “But we will abide by the rules and the rulings that are out there. So, we’ll start with that one today.”
Outfielder Jesse Winker is expected to start serving his suspension after Crawford’s is done. Winker was given a seven-game suspension for “for actions that caused the incident and for fighting.”
Servais wasn’t certain if Winker’s appeal had been heard or if there had been a reduction.
The team is also hoping that Julio Rodriguez, who was suspended two games “for his actions,” will have his reduced to one game.
Rodriguez still doesn’t know what he was suspended for and is adamant that he didn’t throw any punches or anything worthy of a suspension.
The Mariners are not allowed to add another player while Crawford is suspended, but they are fortunate that they can stagger the other suspensions, so they aren’t severely short-handed.
The thought of having to watch four games from his couch and not even be in the dugout is not ideal. Crawford used a few expletives when describing how it would feel.
“I hate not playing,” he said.
Indeed, Crawford often refuses to take off days in the season. To him, being an everyday player means playing every day.
He’s played in 72 of the Mariners’ 77 games this season, missing two games in early May because of back spasms from a headfirst slide into first, getting a day off a nine game played and missing two in June because of food poisoning.
But missing four consecutive home games and not being there with his teammates? That’s a cruel and unusual punishment for ever-intense Crawford. But it might be more difficult for his wife, Kathleen, who will have to endure him and his emotions while he’s watching the games.
“She’s going to be sick of me by the end,” Crawford said.
France an All-Star finalist
Ty France was named as a finalist to be the starting first baseman of the American League All-Star team. MLB announced the two finalists after every position for both leagues.
The finalists were determined by fan voting on MLB.com from June 8 to June 30, labeled Phase 1, with fans being allowed to vote five times per day.
Phase 2 of voting begins Tuesday at 9 a.m. and runs through 11 a.m. July 8 with the finalists starting fresh, meaning the previous vote totals do not carry over. The winners of that Phase 2 fan vote — the starting lineup — will be announced that evening on ESPN.
France, who is on the 10-day injured list with an elbow strain, accumulated 1,279,315 votes which was second to Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. of the Blue Jays, who had 2,853,265 votes.
“I know Ty is trying to do anything he can to get back as soon as he can,” Servais said. “It sounds like things are moving along pretty well there. He’s had an awesome, awesome start to the season. I think he’s very deserving. He’s one of the top five right-handed hitters in our league.”
Kyle Lewis (concussion injured list) did a series of baserunning drills, running at close to full speed and took batting practice in the early workouts. There is a hope that he could be close to starting a rehab assignment.
“I think he’s very close,” Servais said. “You’re kind of at the point with good players working out here pregame, it’s up to them as much as anything on where they’re at and when they want to go out and play and get ready and get back here and help us. I don’t have an exact date. You’ll have to talk to Kyle.”