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Tuesday, October 19, 2010
David Murphy or Julio Borbon?

By Jeff Caplan

NEW YORK -- Before the ALCS started, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said he wanted to get Julio Borbon into the starting lineup and that Game 4 would be the appropriate time against struggling New York Yankees starter A.J. Burnett.

But, Washington hasn't made that official yet. He's mulling whether to go back to David Murphy, who homered and doubled in Game 2. Murphy sat in Game 3 against Yankees lefty Andy Pettitte in favor of the right-hand-hitting Jeff Francoeur.

Borbon, the fleet-footed outfielder, is hitless in seven at-bats in the postseason. He pinch-hit in the bottom of the eighth in Game 1 and struck out against Yankees reliever Kerry Wood. Borbon played in 137 games this season, his first full season in the majors and hit .276. He batted .284 against righties and .280 with runners in scoring position.

"It's something that I'm taking one day at a time. From the time the series started I know they had a couple righties in there with Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett. I know I had a pretty good chance of getting some playing time," Borbon said. "I'm going to come ready to play. My mentality doesn't change whether I'm starting or not. I just try to show up to the field as if I was starting and then once it turns out I'm not, things ease off a little until the game gets going again, and then I'm ready to go at any point they need me."

It might be difficult for Washington to sit Murphy against the right-handed Burnett. Murphy's hitting .250 in the postseason, but he's had good at-bats and is obviously coming off the big game against Hughes. Murphy came back from a left groin strain in Game 3 of the ALDS. It hasn't appeared to affect him much in the field or at the plate.

"I knew running was going to be challenge and once I kind of got over that hump after I played in the first two postseason games, Games 3 and 4 of the ALDS, it got exponentially better day to day from there," Murphy said. "I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent, but I’m pretty close."