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05/12/08 7:40 PM ET
Murphy given night off against Mariners
Outfielder rested in midst of slump; Duran, Vazquez in lineup
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- David Murphy, hitting .167 in his last 13 games, was given Monday night off by manager Ron Washington with left-hander Erik Bedard pitching for the Mariners. Murphy went into Monday's game with just one hit in his last 20 at-bats against left-handers. Prior to that, he was hitting .310 (9-for-29) off them. "It's just not happening against them like I want it to happen," Murphy said. "I feel like I'm right on them, but I've been just missing my pitches. I need to make some adjustments and get right back in there." Washington is concerned that Murphy might be wearing down a little bit. He has started 38 of the Rangers' first 39 games and went in on defense in the late innings of the one game he didn't start. That was against the Angels on April 14, almost a month ago. "He's been struggling a little bit, and that just means he's been grinding a little bit," Washington said. "You can see his bat is dragging and he's missing fastballs he normally hits. It's time for Murph to get a day off and hopefully this will get him going a little bit." Washington still believes Murphy can hit left-handers, but he should have another option against them later this week. Marlon Byrd (bruised knee) is at Triple-A Oklahoma on medical rehabilitation assignment and should be activated in the next few days. That could be as early as Tuesday, but the Rangers also may wait an extra day or two just to make sure Byrd, a right-handed hitter, is ready. Without Byrd, Washington had to make two unusual moves to give Murphy a day off. He started German Duran in right field and Ramon Vazquez, a left-handed hitter, at third base. Duran normally starts at third base when there is a left-hander on the mound, but had to make his third start in the outfield and first in right field. Vazquez normally sits against left-handers, but Washington preferred him to Travis Metcalf. Metcalf is a right-handed hitter, but just came off the disabled list after missing more than a month because of a hamstring injury. His only game action to this point has been in extended Spring Training. He has yet to play in a Minor League game on rehab assignment and is only here in case of an emergency until Byrd is ready. Washington doesn't think Metcalf is ready to start in a Major League game unless there is no other choice. "He hasn't played any baseball," Washington said. "I don't want to put him in the fire like that. As soon as we can get [Byrd] here, we'll get Metcalf out of here. He needs to get some games under his belt. Once he gets a few games under his belt, you never know. He just needs to play."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.