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Sunday, March 24, 2013
Murph logs minors action; DL still option

By Adam Rubin

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Daniel Murphy saw his first in-game pitching of spring training Sunday.

The result: “It was like trying to hit an aspirin,” Murphy said. “I mean, I hadn’t had an at-bat since October. So it was just OK. The same way it is usually when spring training starts. It just started for everybody else five weeks ago.”

Murphy went 1-for-2 with a walk and played five innings at second base in Sunday’s minor league action. He expects to repeat the activity Monday as he works back from a strained intercostal muscle on his left side.

“I got a checked swing my second at-bat and I didn’t feel anything,” Murphy said. “So that felt good.”

Murphy had played in a minor league game nine days ago, but he developed stiffness the day after playing five innings in the field in that game and took a step backward.

Murphy said he can see plenty of at-bats on the minor league side this week and prepare quickly for the season, but Terry Collins is not yet convinced that’s the best course of action. Collins wants Murphy to avoid overdoing things and risk reinjuring the side muscle.

The manager portrayed it as a realistic option for Murphy to open the season on the disabled list but only miss the regular season’s first five games. The 15-day DL can be backdated nine days into spring training as long as the player does not appear in a Grapefruit League game.

Murphy had 65 Grapefruit League at-bats in 2012 to prepare for the season. He's now had three plate appearances this year, all against minor league pitching.

“I’ve had a player go to minor league camp and get 18 at-bats in one day,” Collins said. “He’s not coming off an intercostal strain. Dan Murphy is. So we’ve got to monitor the workload.

“As I’ve told both of them (Murphy and David Wright) in the last four days: ‘The worst-case scenario, you miss the first six days. Worst-case scenario. That’s not bad, for us. That’s not too bad. We’ll take that. The one thing we can’t have is you miss the first six weeks. That we have issues with.' And that’s why we’ll monitor what their workload is.

“To be honest, that’s one of the things I’m looking at right now is he’s had absolutely no time to do what he does," Collins said, referring to Murphy. "He’s one of the hardest-working guys. You see him day after day working on double plays with the pitching machines, trying to use them as feeds. He hasn’t been able to do that. He’s a guy who takes endless swings to make sure his swing is just how he wants it. He hasn’t been able to do that. That’s why I’m saying we will make a decision at the end of the week, which will benefit not only Dan but the organization.”