MIAMI - A left oblique strain cost J.P. Crawford the first three-plus weeks of his second full professional season, but the Phillies' top prospect is set to return to the field this week.
The Phillies are targeting Wednesday as Crawford's day to come off the disabled list and make his season debut for high-A Clearwater. That hinges on the 20-year-old shortstop's completing two more extended spring training games Monday and Tuesday in which he will play nine innings in the field, according to director of player development Joe Jordan.
"If everything goes as planned, he should be with the Clearwater club, more than likely on Wednesday," Jordan said Sunday.
By the time he begins his season, Crawford will have seen close to two weeks of action in extended spring training games.
He looks ready, Jordan said, but the Phillies have a protocol they follow in rehab stints that calls for Crawford to play back-to-back nine inning games before his activation. He suffered the abdominal injury March 24 amid a great start to spring training.
Crawford, the Phillies' 16th overall draft pick two years ago, could reach double-A Reading this year. He played his final 63 games last year with Clearwater and hit .275 with eight home runs, seven doubles and 29 RBIs.
Justin De Fratus needed only 10 pitches Sunday to get through his best outing of the season. The 27-year-old righthanded reliever became the first Phillies pitcher this year to strike out the side in a perfect frame.
De Fratus attacked Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton with two fastballs and a slider to begin the sixth inning of the 6-2 win. He forced Marcel Ozuna to swing through three sliders and got Michael Morse swinging on a fastball.
After two days off, De Fratus appeared to have a little extra juice on his fastball. Three times he registered 93 m.p.h. and he topped out at 94. His April velocity averaged 91.56, according to the PITCHF/x pitch tracking system.
"I think that I just threw it a little more aggressively," he said. "Not trying to nitpick so much and really just challenge some people. I think that's been a big issue on the walks . . . trying to nitpick, trying to be too perfect instead of just going up there and trusting my stuff."