When Dee Gordon left yesterday’s game after being hit square on the wrist by a 90 mph fastball thrown by an erratic J.A. Happ, Mariners fans held their collective breath. After struggling through injuries last year, Dee has been enjoying a rebound season in which he’s gotten closer to the three-win player he was for the Marlins in 2017 than the barely-above-replacement player he was last year. More than that, Dee has been a steadying defensive presence on an infield that features an error-prone Tim Beckham, Ryon Healy playing out of position, and whatever first baseman the Mariners are trotting out for the day.
But it was pretty clear from the outset that whatever happened to Dee was terrible, horrible, no good and very bad:
Luckily, the Mariners are going with the extremely human, highly relatable status of “day-to-day” to describe Gordon, who, for now, avoids a trip to the Injured List. Top prospect Julio Rodriguez is out with a hairline fracture after being struck by a pitch on the wrist; his initial timetable was 4-6 weeks. So, at least as of this writing and Lookout Landing’s collective medical records, things could be worse.
These unfortunate and unlucky circumstances turned attention to Tacoma. While fans connected the dots fairly easily, especially with reports of Shed Long going all Home Alone through the airport, the Mariners made things official today.
#Mariners recall INF J.P. Crawford and INF Shed Long from AAA Tacoma. Seattle options RHP Chasen Bradford to Tacoma and places INF Dylan Moore on the 10-day Injured List (right wrist contusion).— MarinersPR (@MarinersPR) May 10, 2019
Read: https://t.co/FfMZjgCJFC pic.twitter.com/GHbexw7aMX
J.P. Crawford will fill in on the infield, taking over shortstop duties while Tim Beckham shifts to second. Crawford can be erratic at shortstop, as John detailed when he looked at Crawford’s errors from last year, but his errors are, as John concluded, often those of a player trying too hard to make a splashy play rather than being an ill fit for the position. He’s been charged with four errors in 31 games for Tacoma this season, for a fielding percentage of .964, which is passable if not spectacular. Crawford’s plus tool is his bat; in Tacoma, after not recording a hit in the opener, he put together a 15-game hit streak, followed by a nine-game hit streak, and is recently off a four-hit game. It wasn’t just slash-and-dash style hits, either; his slash line was .319/.420/.457, with three HR, and he was striking out just five percent more (18%) than he was walking (13%).
Dylan Moore also has a banged-up wrist after being hit by a pitch by a different Yankees pitcher. Confidential to NY: fix yo’ pitchers. He was in enough pain that he couldn’t swing a bat, so Shed Long was also summoned from Tacoma, although he stayed and played last night’s game, in which he did this:
ICYMI: last night was Star Wars night in Tacoma, so Shed Long celebrated by hitting this ball to Tatooine pic.twitter.com/Odf9obmllZ— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) May 10, 2019
Jeepers! Unlike J.P. (who has 72 games of MLB service time and 174 at the Phillies + Mariners AAA affiliates), Shed was on his first tour of Triple-A. While he’s enjoying some PCL-inflated offensive statistics (slugging over .500, an isolated power mark of .228), he hasn’t had quite the reps at the level Crawford has. Plus, the Mariners have been challenging him with a superutility role in Tacoma, giving him run at 2B, 3B, and LF. While it is great for the rookies to get a taste of MLB pitching, let’s hope Moore’s injury isn’t serious enough to require Shed to ride the major-league bench for too long.
For Friday night’s game in Boston, at least, Long will start on the bench while his fellow callup gets the start at Fenway.
JP Crawford makes his Mariners debut tonight. pic.twitter.com/e7pyGj1CPc— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) May 10, 2019
With right-handed Rick Porcello thumbing for the Red Sox in Saturday’s day game, we could get a glimpse of Long in the starting lineup then. While Long’s bat is 99% of the reason for his promotion, his ability to move around the field defensively is promising. Tim Beckham is not a second baseman. Ryon Healy is not a third baseman, and those just so happen to be the spots Long has played the most in Tacoma this season. Throwing a rookie into Fenway’s funhouse outfield in his first series would be pretty cruel, but it is there for a Break Glass in Case of Emergency situation.
As the Mariners predictably slide back to .500 and below, the injection of youthful players comes at a necessary time. The pair will get their first taste of Fenway Park before the team returns home to face the A’s, presumably providing their home debuts. Though these moves came on the backs of injuries, they do represent a shining ray of entertainment in what had become a bleak lineup.
The future is now, and it’s wearing Mike Z and Edwin’s old numbers.
For the numbers folks, JP Crawford will wear No. 3 and Shed Long will wear No. 39— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) May 10, 2019