Murphy to step up in Hamilton's absence
Davis called up from Triple-A Round Rock to provide depth
DETROIT -- David Murphy was in left field for the Rangers on Wednesday, and will be for the majority of the time while Josh Hamilton is on the disabled list with a fractured bone in his right arm."Somebody has to fill in, and that's why we have David Murphy," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We're going to miss Josh, but the schedule doesn't stop, and the game doesn't stop so the Texas Rangers aren't going to stop. We're going to continue to play baseball and try to get wins." The Rangers called up infielder Chris Davis to replace Hamilton on the roster. But he is not going to replace Hamilton in the lineup. "Not before Murphy," Washington said. "You may see that occasionally, but not before Murphy. Murphy will be in the outfield until I decide to give him a day off." Hamilton, the American League's Most Valuable Player in 2010, is expected to miss six to eight weeks after suffering a non-displaced fracture of the humerus bone just below his right shoulder. The injury occurred when he was thrown out at home plate trying to score on a foul popup in Tuesday's game against the Tigers. Hamilton slid headfirst to the inside of the plate and tried to touch it by extending his right arm. "It's obviously a loss," infielder Michael Young said. "But this is the deepest team I have ever been a part of. It's a huge luxury to have a guy like David Murphy. We'll be fine. We'll be ready to play. We'll keep playing hard until Josh gets back." The Rangers are 54-48 over the past two seasons in games in which Hamilton did not appear, including 19-10 last season. Murphy played in just five of the Rangers' first 11 games, and he went into Wednesday's game hitting .313 with one home run and three RBIs. He has been the Rangers' fourth outfielder since being acquired from the Red Sox on July 31, 2007, and has been getting extensive playing time the past two years because of injuries to Hamilton and Nelson Cruz. Last season, Murphy played in 138 games and hit .291 with 12 home runs and 65 RBIs in 419 at-bats. He had a .358 on-base percentage and a .449 slugging percentage. He filled in for Hamilton for most of September and hit .355 for the month, with three home runs and 17 RBIs in 23 games and 93 at-bats. "It's not like I have never done this before," Murphy said. "I've been staying prepared in case something happens. I want to play, but I don't want my playing time to come through a teammate getting hurt. Anytime you lose an MVP in the lineup, it's a crushing blow. "There is no need for me to be Josh Hamilton. I'm not Josh Hamilton. I'm going to play my game and make the most of my opportunity." Davis is here after having a great Spring Training and getting off to a good start at Triple-A Round Rock. He hit .362 with a .741 slugging percentage, five home runs and 18 RBIs in Spring Training, and he was 9-for-21 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in five games at Round Rock. Davis can play first and third base, and he has also played the outfield in the Minors. The Rangers are more likely to move first baseman Mitch Moreland to the outfield on occasion when they want to get Davis in the lineup. He would play first. But he played four games in the outfield at Oklahoma City last year and 36 games at Class A Spokane in 2006. "I'll use him to pinch-hit, play first base, play third base," Washington said. "I'll get [outfield coach Gary Pettis] to work with him in the outfield. He has played the outfield before. We're trying to get as much versatility of him as we can." But right now, Murphy is back to being a regular outfielder again, alongside Julio Borbon in center and Cruz in right.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.