Daniel Murphy put up a .322/.384/.543 line with 43 doubles and 23 home runs in 144 games and 593 plate appearances in 2017, finishing the second year of his 3-year/$37.5M deal with the Nationals at 4.5 fWAR.
Towards the end of the season, however, as the Nationals and the Chicago Cubs battled it out in the NLDS, Murphy realized that a knee issue he’d been playing through was actually an injury that he had to look into.
Murphy said it was, “probably maybe just the last three games against the Cubs where I was aware of like, ‘This may be more than just nicks, something is going to probably need to get looked at at the end the season.’ But it wasn’t anything that I felt was lingering or really, I didn’t feel like it had any impact on my game. Tough to say whether it did or not, but it just kind of felt like the normal aches and pains of the season.
“I didn’t think it would really be this significant once they got the MRI.”
The injury Murphy didn’t think was significant, eventually required cartilage debridement and a microfracture surgery which kept him out of the Nationals’ lineup through two-plus months, but after a long rehab and 10 games with Double-A Harrisburg’s Senators, the 33-year-old second baseman finally returns to the majors tonight.
Murphy and manager Davey Martinez are taking advantage of the opportunity to have a DH to get the left-hand hitter back in the lineup in the first of two games in Yankee Stadium.
How will they line things up when they’re back playing real baseball? The Nationals have a week to sort that out, but for now Murphy is back. How will he look running the bases if he gets on? We’ll see tonight.