Daniel Murphy was back at Nationals Park this morning. He’ll accompany the Nationals tonight on their train ride to New York. The only remaining question: Will he be on the active roster Tuesday night when they face the Yankees?
The Nationals haven’t made that decision yet, but they appear to be preparing for the possibility, assuming Murphy’s surgically repaired right knee feels fine over the next few days and he decides he’s ready to test it out in a major league game for the first time this season.
“We’re going to talk tomorrow,” manager Davey Martinez said, “and it’s totally how he feels comfortable and if he feels like he’s ready.”
Murphy has now played 10 games on rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg, including each of the last two days. League rules allow him to remain on rehab through Thursday, but he appears to have reached a point where he’s not getting much more out of the exercise.
The fact the Nationals play five games this week in American League parks and could ease Murphy into the lineup as a designated hitter helps create an opening to activate him now.
Murphy, who had microfracture surgery on his knee in October, looked normal taking batting practice and fielding grounders this morning at Nationals Park. He did not run, at least not in public view, and that remains the lone question about his status. The 33-year-old has not looked comfortable on the bases throughout his rehab process, but he has been told he’s not in danger of injuring himself worse by attempting to run at full speed.
Murphy is 9-for-37 with two doubles, two homers and seven RBIs during his 10-game rehab assignment. He has walked six times and scored eight runs, showing an ability to get around the bases.
“Like I’ve said before, there’s nothing wrong with the knee,” Martinez said. “He knows that. It’s a mind-over-matter deal now. We talked today, and for me it’s: Once he gets here and starts playing, I think he’ll forget about everything and just go out and play. But that’s totally up to him and what he feels comfortable.”