Monday, February 23, 2009

Manuel Names Daniel Murphy Mets Left Fielder

New York Newsday reports that Jerry Manuel has named Daniel Murphy at his starting left-fielder for the 2009 season. Murphy batted .313 in 49 games last season after his August 2nd call up. Murphy meteorically rose to the Mets last season, spending most of 2008 in AA, playing only one game in AAA before being summoned to the big show.
"I don't want him to get into a strictly platoon situation," Manuel said. "I think he's a little better player than that. Also, with Church being a lefthanded hitter, I kind of see Murphy being a better hitter right now at this time, so Tatis could go that way [in rightfield]. It all depends on how well they're doing. If they're not getting hits, they're not going to play. Development or whatever, they've got to perform."
While Murphy has shown that he can hit well, there are concerns surrounding his shaky outfield defense. The Mets even attempted to convert Murphy to second base in the Arizona Fall League to supplant Luis Castillo, but that experiment was unsuccessful. He spent the remainder of the off-season working out at his alma mater, Jacksonville University, with his brother Jonathan who is a freshman outfielder. He has also been receiving assistance from Carlos Beltran.
While Manuel's move may seem premature as the Mets have yet to play a Spring Training game, Manuel is sure about the young player's abilities. "I'm confident. The way he swings the bat, I'm confident that he can handle that. I don't have a problem with that."


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