Murphy: My defense needs to catch up

February, 1, 2012
2/01/12
2:15
AM ET
Daniel Murphy batted .320 in 2011, but he struggled in the field, committing 10 errors.

The 26-year-old’s season ended on Aug. 7, when he tore left MCL while trying to turn a double play.

“I understand my defense is lagging a little bit behind my offense, but that’s what the offseason is for and spring training is for, to see if I can close the gap between the two,” Murphy said Tuesday night.

Given his hitting prowess, Murphy is expected to emerge from spring training as the Mets opening day second baseman.

He was asked about making the pivot at second with his back to the runner to complete twin killings.

“Just timing. Got to get a shot clock in my head, just like anything else and understand when the runner’s coming and I think the biggest thing is to put myself in position that I am protected and using the bag and use my feet and be able to protect myself,” Murphy said.

“It’s all a little but new. I haven’t had a lot of game reps, so a lot of things that happened to me it’s the first time it’s ever happened to me, just because I haven’t had as many game reps. That’s what spring training is for, we have 30 games in spring, I am sure I will play in most of them.”

Murphy said he always admired Cubs second baseman Ryan Sandberg because he was a great player and could hit.

Coming off the torn MCL -- his second in as many seasons -- Murphy says he’s healthy right now.

There is talk that he could very well open the season as the team’s leadoff hitter.

“I think I read [Terry Collins said something like that. I am gonna hit wherever he tells me, I am gonna hit wherever he sees best fit. If I am hitting No. 1 that means I am in the lineup. That’s a good sign for me,” Murphy said.

If not, no big deal, though.

“I sent Ike Davis a text. I told him I was putting in a request with TC to hit somewhere near him to get some good pitches. That guy is a killer and I want to be near him,” Murphy said. “He kind of laughed and texted back: ‘Let’s go dominate.’ I think we’re ready and excited for the season.”

Murphy is excited to be playing with gifted defensive shortstop Ruben Tejada.

“He played both positions, so he understands what it takes at second base as well as shortstop, so he’ll definitely be able to help me with the learning curve,” Murphy said.

Murphy was upset that superstar Jose Reyes signed with Miami, even though he understands why.

“I am happy for Jose. I am glad he got his deal. Selfishly, I loved playing with him, but I trust our organization,” Murphy said. “I think they decided that not re-signing Jose was in the best interest of our club in the future and I stand behind our organization. I always have. They have been loyal to me. I will continue to stand by every move they make.”

Murphy’s message to the fan-base?

“I thought we played hard last year. It was exciting. Come on out. It’s gonna be fun,” Murphy said. “We get one off Mariano Rivera, we go on the road and take two out of three from two playoffs teams in the AL, it’s an exciting brand of baseball. I think me personally and as a whole, we just have to close out a few more ballgames we weren’t able to close out last year.”

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187