J.P. Crawford's season debut proved to be worth the wait.
The Phillies top prospect went 2 for 3 with a two-run home run on Wednesday afternoon for the single-A Clearwater Threshers. Crawford, 20, missed the first month of the season after straining his left oblique late in spring training.
The shortstop batted leadoff and was used as a designated hitter. Crawford reached base four times, scored twice, and drove in three runs as the Threshers defeated Brevard County, 7-3. Crawford said he will play in the field on Thursday and Friday.
"It feels great to finally come back here with a lot of my friends and playing with them again," Crawford said by phone. "I've been itching to get back. I'm really happy."
Crawford, who bats lefthanded, singled to right field in the first inning and homered to right in the third. He hit eight home runs last season in 63 games at Clearwater. Crawford walked to lead off the fifth and moved to second on a passed ball. He then scored on a single by Andrew Pullin. Crawford struck out in the seventh. He was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the eighth.
"I saw some good pitching," Crawford said. "I felt comfortable and good in the box. I executed."
The Phillies drafted Crawford with the 16th pick in the 2013 draft. Baseball America ranks him as the 14th-best prospect in all of baseball. He batted .275 last season after being promoted from single-A Lakewood.
Before his injury, Crawford had a chance to open the season at double-A Reading. Crawford could likely find himself there soon if he continues his fast start. Once promoted to Reading, Crawford could join centerfielder Roman Quinn at the top of the lineup. They are two of the fastest players in the organization.
"It's up to them," Crawford said. "I'm just going to go out there and not worry about that stuff. I'm just going to go out there every day, play my hardest, do what I do and whatever happens, happens."