From #OhMurph to #ImWith28
On the eve of the All-Star Game, check out this feature on Daniel Murphy’s ascension from second-base disaster to reasonable defensive player (really, he is). Here are some extras that didn’t make it into the story:
Tim Teufel, the Mets coach who mentored Murphy as he learned to play second base:
“I learned a long time ago that the more reps you take at something, the more comfortable you become at something. In his case, he learned third base, first base, left field and now second base — four positions, and this one is probably the hardest of them all.
“The reps he got in spring were vital, but he developed it in the big leagues which is remarkable to me. His perseverance, his stick-to-it-ness to be out there and put the work in, it’s been great to see.”
Jonathan Murphy, the second baseman’s brother:
“We work out at Jacksonville University in town, at the little practice infield they have there. he would ask me to throw him balls for double plays or hit him ground balls. Our hitting and defensive time started to even out, and then the defensive time almost started to take over.
“He’s been gifted from God, obviously. And part of it is in the offseason, we sit back and we like to talk about numbers a lot. We don’t like to talk about each other’s numbers during the season, because it can kind of get in your head. But once the season’s over, we’ll kind of sit back and be like, ‘Hey man, you had an unbelievable year. If you just walk a little bit more, not only is it going to help your on-base percentage but your average is going to go up too, I think, because you won’t have to get as many hits.’ He was taking that all in, and last season was when he started to walk a little bit. I think it kind of clicked for him.”
Murphy on his own development:
“I see myself as a second baseman. There’s always more work that needs to be done, always more refining. I watch elite second basemen to try to pick things from them. If I’m watching “Baseball Tonight” or something, I watch Brandon Phillips or Dustin Pedroia or Robinson Cano and those guys who are truly elite defensively. I’m able to take more things from them than I do going back and looking at myself.”
Teammate David Wright on Murphy’s spring training routine:
“I would get done doing my [defensive stuff] and he was out there well past me, begging for more. He’d get anybody to come help him, whether it was from the minor league side, whether it was the big league side — wherever. He’d ask for help for more ground balls, or more double plays. It got to the point where the amount of time was impressive, but also somewhat painful just to know the kind of work he was putting in.”
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley:
“I’ve always thought he had a good swing and a good approach at the plate — quiet. As a young guy you never know how it’s going to pan out, but I thought when he was young he seemed like a more mature hitter than his age. You just watch his mannerisms in the batter’s box. His actions were slow — I’m not talking about his swing, but he just looked like a professional hitter when he was younger. From talking to guys, you know that he’s a grinder and he wants to improve, and he’s always looking to improve. In my opinion, those are the guys that will improve — the guys that want to.”
Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo