Murphy traveling with club while rehabbing (Nats win 2-0)

CINCINNATI - Though he's not on the big league roster to begin the season, Daniel Murphy is going to be hanging out with the rest of the Nationals for at least a little while.

Murphy, who is on the 10-day disabled list while completing his rehab from October knee surgery, made the trip to Cincinnati with the Nats, was introduced on the field alongside everybody else on the roster before today's opener and will stay with them until he's ready to play in minor league rehab games.

Daniel-Murphy-run-gray-sidebar.jpg"He's one of the guys," manager Davey Martinez said. "He's a big part of this group. We wanted him to travel with us. He's getting all his work in. He hasn't missed a beat. We want him around as much as possible."

Murphy, who had microfracture surgery on his right knee Oct. 20, never made it into a Grapefruit League game this spring. By the end of camp, he was taking batting practice and grounders at second base, but was not yet running at 100 percent speed.

Why not have him stay in West Palm Beach to continue his rehab?

"We're going to keep him around," Martinez said. "He's going to take batting practice, take ground balls, do everything he needs to do. As you know, we have a great training staff, so he's with them. He's in great hands."

Once he's ready to get at-bats in a game, Murphy will either go back to Florida for extended spring training or join a minor league affiliate for a rehab assignment. The Nationals have not offered a timetable for that yet.

Update: Max Scherzer came ready to go today. But the Nats aren't giving their ace any margin for error. Scherzer has struck out nine batters through four scoreless innings, including seven in a row at one point during a dominant opening day start. The only downside? Scherzer has already thrown 73 pitches, thanks to a couple of long at-bats by Scooter Gennett and Scott Schebler in the bottom of the fourth.

The Nationals gave Scherzer a 1-0 lead before he ever took the mound. Singles by Adam Eaton and Bryce Harper put runners on the corners with one out. And though Ryan Zimmerman hit a tailor-made double play grounder to third that should've ended the inning, Harper prevented that from happening with a hard slide into second. Gennett's throw to first skipped and couldn't be handled by Joey Votto, so Eaton scored the season's first run.

Update II: They had to grind it out, but the Nats earned themselves a 2-0 opening day victory. After Scherzer went six scoreless innings, striking out 10, he was pulled with his pitch count at 100. Brandon Kintzler and Ryan Madson each posted zeros in the seventh and eighth innings to protect what was still a 1-0 lead. Then after the Nats manufactured a key insurance run in the top of the ninth, Sean Doolittle closed it out for his first save of the season. The Nats are 1-0 and off and running.

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