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Monday, August 8, 2011
Murph could be back to outfield

By Adam Rubin

Ike Davis will be back next season at first base, so Daniel Murphy will need to reinvent himself again. And that position very well could be the outfield, Terry Collins said.

“We’ll have to see what the makeup of the club is going into the wintertime -- in Dan Murphy’s case about how we’re going to get his bat in that lineup somewhere,” Collins said. “… We’ve got to be open minded enough to think the outfield may be a spot.”

Still, even if Murphy’s medial collateral ligament tear in his left knee heals quickly enough to allow for participation in the fall instructional league or in winter ball, Collins does not want Murphy playing that soon.

“Not this year,” Collins said. “He’s got 400 at-bats. I don’t think he has to prove anything. If we decide that Dan Murphy -- wherever it might be next year, whatever spot -- with his work ethic, he’ll get it done starting in January. He’ll be in St. Lucie, where I will be, in January, hopefully, and we’ll start the process then.”

Murphy recently had asked for increased pregame repetitions at second base, sensing that might be the position where he would be asked to play in 2012. Now, both of his MCL tears -- last year in Triple-A and Sunday against the Braves -- have come on slides into him at second base.

“It’s something that reinforces the fact that these guys, as great athletes as they are, you just can’t go out there and play some position you’re unfamiliar with,” Collins said. “Game action teaches you stuff. I’ll talk to Dan about it, but the position his leg was in on that play, I’ve played a lot of second base, it never was in that position. He’s got to understand where he needs to be, where his feet need to be. And it all comes with the more reps he gets out there. And, unfortunately, due to what’s happened this year, Dan never got them. I think had he stayed at second base throughout the summer … I doubt you would have seen that yesterday.”

Sandy Alderson noted Murphy will be a regular player for the Mets somewhere next year, although he did not indicate it would be exclusively one position. Murphy's 2008-09 dabbling in left field did not go particularly well, and he eventually returned to the infield.

“Any time you’re fourth of fifth in the league in hitting, you need to try to find a place for that player to play,” Alderson said. “And so I think he got to that level, and that’s how we view it.”

Still, Alderson added: “I’d be surprised if we went into spring training saying, ‘You’re going to do this exclusively,’ but it’ll depend on what happens in the offseason and what our specific needs are.”

Asked about constantly having to reinvent himself position-wise, Murphy said: "I think it's encouraging that the organization is going to give you a chance to play again. I'll be 27 years old with two knee injuries. And it sounds like they're going to give me a chance to play every day somewhere. I'll take it."