Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 3/13/13
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) -- 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

Draymond Green: 76ers are going to be ‘really, really, really good’

Bill Polian wouldn't put Terrell Owens or Randy Moss in Hall Of Fame

Report: Free agent wide receivers want to play with Carson Wentz

NFL has plans to put microchips in footballs in 2017

A San Diego storm has turned Petco Park into a lake

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Top eight storylines for NFL Scouting Combine

Mike D’Antoni calls out Rockets for being ‘soft’ again

WATCH: Dwight Howard ejected for hanging on rim

Capitals acquire Blues’ Kevin Shattenkirk in bold trade

Report: Chiefs making ‘strong push’ to make Eric Berry highest-paid safety in NFL

Dana White hints at Conor McGregor's next opponent

Box Score 2/28: Fat Tuesday means athletes on floats.

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in Major League Baseball

The best sports movies available to stream right now

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

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

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in MLB

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 20 or more games in a season since 2000

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

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