Murphy finally set as everyday player for Rangers

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 13, 2013
Mlb-rangers-tigers-jul
(Eds: Updates.) By STEPHEN HAWKINS AP Sports Writer Only two players have appeared in more games for the Texas Rangers than David Murphy over the past six seasons. Yet for the first time this spring, Murphy arrived in Arizona without the tag as the Rangers' fourth outfielder. He instead will be the everyday left fielder, a distinction that hasn't changed his approach. ''I've never been in this position before, so I think I'm looking at it like any other spring,'' Murphy said. ''It's a performance-based sport, and I think you could assume the position's being given to me because I was successful last year. But my performance still needs to be there, so I'm not taking anything for granted.'' Murphy played 147 games last year, with 118 starts in the outfield and seven more as the designated hitter. The left-handed hitter had a .304 average with 15 home runs and 61 RBIs, including an impressive .347 clip against left-handed pitchers. ''It was a step in the right direction,'' he said. ''There was a level that I could play at, that I knew I could, and that I hadn't. And I finally started to show signs and be more consistent, and I still think there's more out there.'' Through his first 13 spring training games before the Rangers had a day off Wednesday, Murphy hit .314 (11 for 35). The Rangers acquired the Texas native and former first-round draft pick in July 2007, from Boston in a non-waiver deadline deal that sent closer Eric Gagne to the Red Sox. Murphy made his debut with the Rangers a couple of weeks later. Since then, Murphy has played in 684 regular-season games and been with the Rangers in their only two World Series. Michael Young, the longest-tenured Rangers player before being traded to Philadelphia over the winter, played in 807 games for Texas during that stretch. Second baseman Ian Kinsler played in 727. ''I think David is on a mission, the same mission he was on last year. He wanted to be an everyday guy last year, he ended up being it. He has no intentions of losing his everyday job,'' manager Ron Washington said. ''He didn't show me anything (last year) I didn't already know. He just was more consistent at doing it.'' The expectation last spring was that Murphy would split time in left field, the spot five-time All-Star slugger Josh Hamilton would slide into when Craig Gentry or another right-hander got turns in center field. Hamilton is no longer in the outfield mix after leaving in free agency for the AL West-rival Los Angeles Angels. Now Gentry is competing with Leonys Martin for the starting job in center, with the 31-year-old Murphy set in left going into his final season before potential free agency. ''Murph's a good player and he's worked on things,'' general manager Jon Daniels said. ''He's always been an important part of the club, and he's going to get an opportunity to continue doing just that. ... He's a mature person, a mature player, he's not going to be fazed.'' Murphy improved his defense over the past couple of years working with Gary Pettis, a Rangers assistant coach who was a five-time Gold Glove outfielder. He wanted more chances to hit against left-handers, something Washington gave him. And Murphy responded with the best single-season average for a Rangers left-hander against a lefties with at least 75 at-bats - though that was exactly how many he had. Going into last season, he was hitting .253 in his career in such situations. ''It's not necessarily the physical work, it's just the mental part of it, and the thought process, and thinking my way out of it, thinking my way into becoming a better player because this has to be a thought before I can physically do it out there,'' Murphy said. ''A lot of people ask me what the difference was in last year,'' he said. ''I told them I didn't feel like it was necessarily a physical difference. I felt like I'm older and smarter.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

Bethune-Cookman football player killed at party

Former UFC heavyweight Kevin Randleman dead at 44

WATCH: Chelsea scores three goals in less than 20 minutes

Broncos safety Shiloh Keo arrested for DUI

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mountain West admits error, says Boise St. shot was good

WATCH: John Calipari loses his mind, gets ejected

Former Clemson star Tajh Boyd to speak at John Kasich rally

Peyton Manning's alleged not-so-wholesome image

Hawks not shopping Al Horford at NBA trade deadline

Report: Lincecum has been throwing in secret location

Ejected John Calipari tweets “they don’t need me and I love it”

Popovich would 'buy ticket' to watch Warriors play

Jamal Murray destroyed South Carolina defender with dunk

WATCH: Lon Kruger gets Oklahoma hoops squad hype for Kansas test

Texas signee glad he didn’t pick Texas A&M after alleged racism

Dallas Stars have passed the early tests in February

Could Matt Forte become the revival for Patriots run game?

Are the Celtics legimate contenders in the East?

WATCH: Jabari Parker is no joke at NBA Rising Stars Challenge

How Marvelous Marv Throneberry became a Met

WATCH: Filip Forsberg goes beast on Lightning with this goal

Carmelo Anthony on trade rumors: ‘I’m not going anywhere’

Report: Cavaliers shopping Kevin Love, price tag very high

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker