Martinez said Murphy close to minor league rehab games

As the Nationals return home the hottest team in the National League, there is more positive news about the rehab process for Daniel Murphy. The second baseman is continuing rehabbing from knee surgery in West Palm Beach at the National spring training facility.

Pregame Friday in Arizona Murphy did not appear to be in any pain as he went through all the paces of batting practice with fielding and running the bases. He ran down the first base line multiple times. Murphy headed towards second on a couple of those runs and was pushing himself. He appeared to be in good spirits after the work out.

“Yeah, he went to Florida,” said manager Davey Martinez of Murphy. “He’s going to start playing games. I know in Arizona he started running really well. So, we’re excited about that. We sent him off. Hopefully, he’s going to start playing here soon.”

sidebar-Murphy-white-tall.jpgMartinez said if everything goes well in Florida, Murphy will finally get into actual rehab games at the minor league level.

“We want him to play in games like a normal game,” Martinez said. “Like he’s going to play the field, hit, run, like you typically would. I don’t know how much of the game he’s going to play but at least we are going to get him started.”

Catcher Matt Wieters hurt his hamstring in his first at-bat Thursday night at Arizona. There was concern that he also might have injured his knee so an MRI was ordered. Martinez did not have an update on those results as of pregame today.

“I haven’t heard anything yet,” Martinez said. “As soon as I hear something I’ll definitely let you guys know. I know he’s going to see the doctor today or tomorrow so we will know definitive here soon.”

Centerfielder Michael A. Taylor is not in the starting lineup. He has been playing a lot recently and the groin still might be a bit tender.

“I want to give him two days off,” Martinez said. “He’s been unbelievable out in the outfield. Really has. I just want to give him another day and get him some rest.”

* With Ryan Zimmerman on the disabled list with an oblique injury, veteran Mark Reynolds made a smashing debut for the Nats Sunday with two home runs and a single in the 6-4 win at Arizona. Martinez was asked about how the surprising it might be that Reynolds was able to make such a debut in his first game of the season?

“I think about I’m glad we had him and we got him now,” Martinez said. “We tried to sign him earlier in the spring. We’re just fortunate enough that we were able to sign him and he’s here now. To do what he did his first game back was impressive. He’s in there again today so if we could have a repeat performance it would be really nice.”

* Martinez wore his Washington Capitals sweater to the pregame news conference as well as a Capitals hat, as he has done for the past few weeks. The Capitals are facing the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight in Game Three of the National Hockey League Eastern Conference Finals crosstown at Capital One Arena.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz mentioned this week that Martinez texted words of encouragement as the club ventured through their early postseason rounds. When asked about their friendship, Martinez said Trotz congratulated him when he got the job with the Nats in the offseason.

“He reached out to me when I got the job so in fairness I want them to do well, I really do,” Martinez said. “I have become a huge fan. I really have. They’ve had an unbelievable season. They’ve been playing really well. They are fun to watch.”

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