Phillies top prospect Crawford dealing with injury

Phillies top prospect Crawford dealing with injury

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies top prospect J.P. Crawford remains sidelined with an injured oblique, but it probably will not affect his chances of being promoted to the big leagues before the end of the season.

Crawford, 21, has not played since Aug. 9 after tweaking the oblique while making an acrobatic play in the field for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He is hitting .258 with nine doubles, one triple, three home runs, 25 RBIs and a .681 OPS in 306 plate appearances with the IronPigs.

"J.P. is day to day," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said on Wednesday. "I expect he'll be back in the lineup in Lehigh sometime in the next couple of days. He's been playing catch. He's been hitting off a tee. He's been doing a lot of work on the side. We're just trying to be a little careful with him and make sure he doesn't re-aggravate it."

Crawford is the No. 3 prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com. He could be the Phillies' everyday shortstop as early as next season, but the Phils might not promote him until 2017 because of 40-man roster considerations.

The Phillies have to protect multiple prospects before this year's Rule 5 Draft. The list includes 12 of their Top 30 prospects, according to MLBPipeline.com: Nick Williams (No. 3), Dylan Cozens (No. 7), Mark Appel (No. 11), Andrew Knapp (No. 12), Ricardo Pinto (No. 16), Nick Pivetta (No. 18), Elniery Garcia (No. 20), Malquin Canelo (No. 22), Carlos Tocci (No. 23), Ben Lively (No. 24), Jose Pujols (No. 27) and Alberto Tirado (No. 29).

There are others not on that list, too.

Crawford does not have to be protected yet, so keeping him off the 40-man roster until next year would allow Philadelphia to protect an additional prospect it feels is at risk of being selected in the Rule 5 Draft.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.