BALTIMORE - After two months of waiting and waiting for positive injury news, the Nationals may be on the verge of getting one of their most important injured players back at long last.
Daniel Murphy spent the last two days rehabbing for Double-A Harrisburg and emerged from it with his surgically repaired right knee in good shape.
The Nationals aren’t offering up any firm timetable for Murphy to make his long-awaited season debut, but manager Davey Martinez did suggest it won’t be much longer now.
“I’m hoping it’ll be fairly soon,” said Martinez, who tends not to be that forthcoming when providing injury updates.
Murphy’s performance the last two nights at Harrisburg certainly help his case to come off the disabled list soon. He is 3-for-8 in two games and Sunday night delivered both a three-run double and a three-run homer, giving him six RBIs and six total bases. He also has run the bases and slid without suffering any significant consequences in his knee.
That last point is key, because that’s the only thing holding Murphy back from playing in big league games.
“It’s not the at-bats, because he’s been hitting. He’s fine,” Martinez said. “It’s the running part, and where we’re at with his running. The other day he went first-to-third, which is really nice. He said he felt pretty good. We just don’t want him to feel pretty good. We want him to feel really good. When he feels like he can run first-to-third every day, go second-to-home every day, then we’ll know he’s ready.”
Murphy isn’t in Harrisburg’s lineup this afternoon after playing seven innings each of the last two nights.
“We’re actually waiting to see how he felt,” Martinez said earlier in the morning before the Senators’ lineup was announced. “I think he wants to play, but we’ll see. We want him to play, but actually we need to be very careful. So we’ll see how he feels today.”
Murphy was joined in the lineup the last two nights by Brian Goodwin, also rehabbing from a bruised wrist. The outfielder is 2-for-7 with a walk, a stolen base and two runs scored and doesn’t appear to need much more time himself before coming off the DL.
“His wrist is feeling pretty good,” Martinez said. “It’s just a matter now of getting at-bats and seeing where we’re at. When you miss this much time, you’ve got to really start spring training all over again, because you don’t want something else to happen.”