Two Rangers get their rings
As ex-Sox players, Gabbard, Murphy earn special hardware
BOSTON -- Kason Gabbard and David Murphy were originally Red Sox Draft picks -- Gabbard out of Palm Beach (Fla.) High School in 2000 and Murphy out of Baylor University in '03. While they now play for the Rangers after being acquired at the trade deadline last season, along with outfielder Engel Beltre, for reliever Eric Gagne, they now have a souvenir of their days with the Red Sox.
Gabbard and Murphy were both given their 2007 World Series rings before Friday night's game at Fenway Park. The Sox gave rings to every player who appeared in a game for the team during its championship season. Gabbard was 4-0 with a 3.73 ERA in seven starts for the Sox last season, while Murphy appeared in three games, going 1-for-2 with a triple.
"I didn't really know what to think at first," Murphy said. "I just put it on my finger. My hand was shaking a little bit. It's just a special moment. The Red Sox are just generous to give that to me. It's something I didn't expect, but it's going to be nice just for the memories.
"I don't really know right now [what I'll do with it]. Maybe like special occasions [I'll] wear it or something like that, but put it somewhere safe. I don't know. But I'm about to buy a house. So maybe put it in a room with other memorabilia. It's in a nice box -- just to open it up, set the ring in there, just to look at it, if nothing else."
Gabbard had plans for his ring.
"I'm probably going to give it to my dad," Gabbard said. "It means a lot to me, but I think it will mean more to him. I don't think [he'll wear it]. I think he's just going to hold on to it.
"It's nice. I wish I could have been here and celebrated it the way they did, but I thank them guys for giving it to me. It was real nice, but I want another one."
Red Sox manager Terry Francona was happy to see his former charges -- even if he was reserving his good wishes for another time.
"Not this weekend," Francona said. "[Murphy's] a great kid. I ran into Gabby in the weight room coming up here. Your affection for these guys doesn't diminish when they leave the organization. First of all, they didn't choose to leave, it was a trade. They're great kids. I don't want them ever to have success against us or not enough to beat us. That doesn't mean our admiration is any less because they're in a different organization."
For the first time since the trade, both players returned to Fenway -- with mixed emotions for both.
"It's weird," said Murphy, who entered the game batting .305 with one home run and six RBIs, leading all American League rookies with 18 hits, 28 total bases and seven doubles, tied for second in the league. "It definitely feels weird being back here. But it's nice to see everyone.
"But I wouldn't change anything. The opportunity that I've gotten with the Rangers, they've been great. And being home has been great. I wouldn't change a thing. Yes, there are some mixed emotions, but I'm really happy with the way everything's worked out."
Gabbard will take the Fenway mound emerging from the visitors' dugout along the third-base line for the first time on Monday morning, a traditional early start for the Patriots' Day holiday.
"It's a different feeling from this dugout," said Gabbard, who was joined by his mother and a family friend on this trip, "but it's going to be fun, a lot of fun. I don't know. I might have to tell you after the game [on Monday]. But it's going to be early in the morning."
The left-hander, who will enter his Monday start with a 1-0 record and ERA of 2.41, has welcomed the opportunity the trade to the Rangers has given him.
"It is [mixed emotions], but, you know, it's baseball, and you just got to kind of move on and go from there," Gabbard said. "We got a great bunch of guys over here, and we're going to try to win a world championship over here."
Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.