ARLINGTON, Texas — For J.P. Crawford, the discomfort he feels in his swollen index finger when trying to throw a baseball isn’t quite as painful as having to sit and watch a game instead of playing.
“I hate it so much,” he said, adding an expletive before “hate.”
But for the second straight game in the series vs. the Rangers, Crawford was out of the starting lineup because of the finger issue.
“It still hurts to grip a ball,” Crawford said. “So we’ll give it another day.”
Despite two days worth of treatment — ice and electric stimulation — the middle knuckle of Crawford’s index finger is still very swollen. He suffered the injury in the nightcap of Wednesday’s doubleheader in Washington D.C. He doesn’t remember the exact play, but he remembers the finger getting jammed when he tried to make a play on a short hop.
“I was shifted over and I really couldn’t tell you what happened,” he said. “When I got up, I knew it just didn’t feel good. And I went to sleep (Wednesday night) and I woke up the next day and it was twice its size.”
Crawford was planning to play through it Thursday. But during the early ground-ball work, he struggled with gripping the ball tightly and the pain was heightened when he tried to throw the ball with any velocity.
“I tried and I was barely getting the ball over there (to first base),” he said.
The hope is that with another day of treatment that Crawford can return to the lineup Saturday. He didn’t play any catch before Friday’s game.
“He may be available late in the game to pinch hit,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It’s really just the throwing that bothers him.”
Until then Crawford will have to endure the pain of watching his team play without him. He had to endure it a few times this season. He missed two games because of back spasms, and he had to watch four games from his couch when he was suspended for his role in the brawl with the Angels.
“It’s just bad no matter where I’m at,” he said. “I don’t like it. I get too locked in.”
When the Mariners were mounting a comeback in Thursday’s win, Crawford was pacing back and forth in the dugout and put on his batters glove and took some swings off the tee thinking he might have to come in.
Servais understands that Crawford hates to sit, but at least he isn’t annoying or disruptive about it.
“The guys that are used to playing every day, they don’t handle it well,” he said. “At least when I’m sitting on the bench, at least I don’t hear him too much. Some guys you do hear a little too much.”
Servais wouldn’t elaborate on those players, focusing on Crawford intensely stewing over each play.
“He’s relatively quiet, which I appreciate,” Servais said. “Some guys aren’t.”
The two did have a conversation late in the game when Adam Frazier pinch hit for Dylan Moore and was forced to go into the game at shortstop in the bottom of the ninth.
“I asked J.P. for a scouting report on Frazier as a shortstop and he was all thumbs up, saying he could handle it,” Servais said. “I actually saw Frazier play shortstop when he was back at Mississippi State. I knew he could do it.”
The last time Frazier had played shortstop in a MLB game was April 15, 2017 at Wrigley Field. After starting the game at second base, he shifted over to shortstop when starting Jordy Mercer was double switched out of the game.
Frazier never had a ball hit to him in the ninth inning as the Mariners closed out a 6-5 come-from-behind win. Though he expected one with two outs and Marcus Semien on second base, Corey Seager on first base and Adolis Garcia at the plate.
“I get over there from time to time being in the shift,” he said. “I feel like I’m over there half the time anyways. The angles are a little different; it’s a bit farther to the left. I thought for sure Garcia was gonna hit me one about 115 (mph) off the bat and I have to make a play to end the game.”
Garcia flew out to Jesse Winker instead.
“It felt natural,” Frazier said. “It’s just been a while.”
- Carlos Santana was placed on the restricted list and left the team to attend to a family emergency. Servais didn’t offer any details about Santana’s situation. “He needed to take care of an issue and we want to be respectful of that,” Servais said. “I’m hoping he will be back here with us in the next day or two before the break. That’s what I’m led to believe.”
- Friday marked the anniversary of the official opening of Safeco Field, now called T-Mobile Park. On July 15, 1999, the dark green stadium opened its gates for the first time when the Mariners hosted the Padres in ballpark’s inaugural game.
- Franmy Pena, a former infielder in the Rockies and Brewers organization, was in a Mariners uniform on Saturday pregame and had a locker next to Julio Rodriguez in the clubhouse. Pena, a scout and trainer whose family runs a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, will be throwing to Rodriguez in the home run derby.