When his stomach started to churn and gurgle Friday afternoon, J.P. Crawford knew something wasn’t right. Then came the nausea and the sweating despite feeling chills. And once the vomiting started, he couldn’t seem to make it stop.
How was he going to play Saturday afternoon if he couldn’t keep anything down? So he texted manager Scott Servais to let him know what was happening.
“I’m not the type of guy who just asks for days off, I’m in that lineup every day if I can,” he said. “I was really up all night throwing up, it was tough. I couldn’t even move out of my bed.”
From the moment the symptoms started setting in, Crawford was terrified that he might have COVID-19. The Yankees were dealing with an outbreak at the same time, and the Mariners had just come from series in Florida and Texas before that where the Delta variant of COVID is raging.
“That’s definitely the first thing that comes to your mind,” Crawford said. “You are thinking what if I got it and then you’ve put your whole team in jeopardy. It’s a crazy time we’re living in to just even feel some type of sick anymore.”
But it wasn’t COVID.
“I had some bad Chinese food,” he said. “It was definitely food poisoning, and it wasn’t anything that we were expecting, so it’s a good thing.”
It’s not often when food poisoning is a good thing. And didn’t feel good in the moment.
“Those last few days were brutal,” he said.
Crawford missed Saturday’s game, and the plan was to keep him out of Sunday’s series finale and use Monday’s off day to let him get back to feeling normal. He hadn’t had much more than fluids since Friday and was feeling weak.
But when Jarred Kelenic was ejected in the eighth inning of the game and manager Scott Servais was ejected minutes later after defending his player, the Mariners were in a bit of a predicament in trying to fill out the defensive positions and keep Crawford out of the game.
That wasn’t going to happen. He went to Servais and said he was playing shortstop.
“I wasn’t close to 100 percent, but that’s what good teammates do,” he said. “You go in and help your team get a W for that day. They needed me, and I was ready. I told him I’m gonna be ready. Even if I’m on my deathbed, I’m going to be there for my guys.”
Crawford had sat out just once in the first 111 games of the season.
After changing up his pregame workouts and preparation with performance coach James Clifford last season, Crawford has found a program that allows him to stay strong and feel refreshed through the vagaries of the marathon season.
“I feel a big difference this year,” he said. “This is the most games I think I’ve ever played. And I’m not even close to feeling tired.”
His goal is to play every game in a season.
“I want to be 162,” he said. “Those food poisoning days, I didn’t want those days off. I don’t ever want days off.”
Pitching prospect promotions
The Mariners have promoted their two top pitching projects — right-handers George Kirby and Emerson Hancock — to Class AA Arkansas, making the announcement from the player development twitter account (@MsPlayerDev).
Hancock, Seattle’s first-round pick in 2020 and No. 4 prospect in the organization per Baseball America, was promoted Monday afternoon. He is slated to make his debut for the Travelers on Wednesday vs. the Springfield Cardinals.
The announcement that Kirby, their first-round pick in 2019, and their No. 3 overall prospect and No. 11 in all of baseball, was being promoted to Arkansas came Tuesday afternoon. He is expected to start either Friday or Saturday.
Justus Sheffield (left forearm strain/oblique strain) threw a two-inning simulated game of around 35 pitches Tuesday afternoon at T-Mobile Park. Sheffield was supposed to make a rehab start Sunday in Spokane with High-A Everett, but that plan was scratched after Sheffield needed a few extra days after a live batting practice session. He is expected to make a rehab start in five days with either Class AAA Tacoma or Everett.
Justin Dunn (right shoulder strain) has started throwing off the mound to build arm strength but is still a few weeks away from starting a rehab assignment.
Kyle Lewis (meniscus surgery right knee) has been working with Ichiro in the batting cage over the past week and been doing plyometric workouts and some light running to build leg strength. He is expected to start participating in pregame workouts in the next few days.
“We’ve missed him, obviously,” Servais said. “We saw what kind of talent and what this guy brings to our lineup, and certainly the right-handed bat and what that does in balancing our lineup even more, but we’ve got to make sure he’s 100 percent ready to go when he does get back. No timetable set yet on when he does a rehab or any of that stuff. I’m just looking forward to seeing him out on the field here.”
Shed Long Jr. (right shin stress reaction) went to see Dr. Lyle Cain, the surgeon who performed the procedure on his right shin last September to see whether there is any damage.
“The bone is healing fine,” Servais said. “It’s kind of a play as tolerated situation with him. We’ll see how he’s feeling when he gets back.”