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Rumor Central: J.P. Crawford taking reps at third base

Prized Philadelphia Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford could be nearing his major-league debut, but at a different position than expected.

The Phillies are temporarily moving Crawford to third base at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, as Matt Gelb of Philly.com notes. Crawford played the position for the first time in his professional career Sunday night without incident.

"It's just about versatility," Phillies assistant general manager Ned Rice said of the switch. "It benefits the player and benefits the team when more guys are able to play multiple positions."

Freddy Galvis is the Phillies' current shortstop and is considered a strong defender at the position. The 27-year-old is a free agent at the end of next season, and the team has no intention of shifting where he fields as he aims to play all 162 games this season at shortstop.

That said, Crawford is still being viewed as the organization's shortstop of the future, Gelb notes. The 22-year-old could also see some time at second base in the interim.

Crawford is hitting .246 with 13 homers and 55 RBIs for Lehigh Valley this season, but he's been much better since the All-Star break (.314/.400/.564 slash line in 36 games). Crawford must be added to the Phillies' 40-man roster this winter to avoid the Rule 5 draft, making the odds of him being called up to the big leagues this September more likely.

- Kyle Brasseur

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