05/18/08 4:12 PM ET
Murphy makes the most of off-days
Rookie's results at plate improve after games he does not start
By Todd Wills / Special to MLB.com
Some days, even in baseball, you need a mental break.
Murphy, in his first full year as a starter in the Majors, is proof of that. He has 10 hits in his last 19 at-bats since being rested, raising his average from .253 to .285. And even when he didn't start on May 12, he still got two at-bats in a 10-inning game.
Murphy, who started his 43rd of the team's 45 games on Sunday, has responded well to both of the occasions on which he didn't start. After not getting the start on April 14 against the Los Angeles Angels, he hit .300 the rest of the month, helping him win American League Rookie of the Month.
Murphy was batting .179 (7-for-39) in May when manager Ron Washington sat him last Monday against Seattle. And he has responded again.
"This is the second time [he's not started], and he's come back like that both times," Washington said. "It will have the same effect on everybody. This game is physical. A day off at the ballpark is better than an off-day."
Now that Marlon Byrd is back, the Rangers will try to juggle their outfielders more. Center fielder Josh Hamilton, who asked to take Sunday's game off against Houston, could get two more games off on the Rangers' upcoming road trip, Washington said on Sunday, with seven of the 10 games being played on artificial turf.
Rookie left fielder Brandon Boggs had Saturday's game off. Washington expects him to respond just like Murphy did. Byrd made Washington feel better about giving out off-days by getting three hits and homering in Saturday's 6-2 victory over the Astros.
"Now that we have Marvin back, we can easily give guys in the outfield a day off," Murphy said. Added Washington: "We just couldn't pull those guys out of the outfield."
The success he's had since his last off-day doesn't mean Murphy doesn't want to be an everyday player. He just has a respect for what those who play 162 games in a season go through.
"That's why you admire guys like [Cal] Ripken and Miguel [Tejeda]," Murphy said. "It says a lot that they can play every day. I want to do that."
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.