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04/19/09 2:46 PM ET
Murphy back in left field for Rangers
At-bats have been limited with Byrd, others playing well
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- David Murphy was back in the Rangers' lineup in left field on Sunday, only his second start on the six-game homestand. He was also looking for his first hit of the season. Murphy went into Sunday's game hitless in 15 at-bats. That was the most at-bats by a Major League player without a hit so far this season. "I'm working on something every day, trying to slow everything down as much as possible," Murphy said. "I feel I'm ready. After each game I've struggled, it's not easy, but I feel a sense of renewal every day. I'm not thinking negative. I'm staying positive, I'm ready to play, stay relaxed and have fun." This was Murphy's fifth start in 12 games. Manager Ron Washington has been going with Marlon Byrd in left field, trying to stay with the hot bat. Byrd had a six-game hitting streak come to an end when he went 0-for-4 against Zack Greinke on Saturday but is still hitting .344 with two home runs and nine RBIs. "I'm going to get Murphy out there," Washington said. "I'm not going to get him out there four or five days in a row, but I'm going to get him there. He just needs to swing the bat and start being productive ... but that's everybody. We know he can. "I don't think he's pressing, but when he gets his pitch, he's not doing anything with it. He's fouling it back or missing it. In this game, you only get so many pitches and you can miss them." Washington also considered giving Josh Hamilton a day off Sunday but decided against it. He may get a day off during the three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Hamilton, going into Sunday's game, was 2-for-15 with seven strikeouts in his last three games. "We need Josh to break out of his slump, and he's not going to break out of his slump if he's not on the field," Washington said. "It's been pitch selection. His pitch selection has to get better, that's all. It's not a big thing." Washington did give first baseman Chris Davis a day off. He had a three-hit night on the first game of the homestand but is 2-for-12 since then and is hitting .158 for the season. As of Sunday morning, he was leading the American League with 18 strikeouts. "It's just one day," Washington said. "He'll be right back in there on Tuesday." The Rangers, after an off-day Monday, open a three-game series Tuesday against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.