Davey Martinez talked about the possibility of getting Daniel Murphy back in the Nationals’ lineup before and after the series finale with the Atlanta Braves this past Sunday, after six games on the 33-year-old infielder’s rehab stint with Washington’s Double-A affiliate.
Martinez did admit, after a number of less-than-glowing reports on Murphy’s knee came out of Harrisburg, that he wasn’t sure when the second baseman would be back in the majors.
“I think we’re still a ways, but we’ll see,” Martinez told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “We want him to keep progressing, and he’s doing that.”
It’s a process, of course, after Murphy underwent cartilage debridement and microfracture surgery on his right knee this past winter.
“Some days are better than others, and we get that,” Martinez added. “But the good part is, he’s playing every day. One day, it’ll come all together, and all of a sudden he’s doing really well. I’m not worried about it.”
Part of it, the first-year skipper said, is Murphy starting to trust that the knee is fully healed.
Here's some spliced video off the MiLB feed from the last two days...tell me he looks healthy...in the first one, he struggles to even get to a routine grounder and then can't get anything on the throw off his right leg pic.twitter.com/tg0Gnw6nuY— Mick Reinhard (@Mayflies) June 3, 2018
Asked after the loss in the finale with the Braves about a potential timetable for Murphy’s return, the Nationals’ manager said again that he didn’t know.
“He’s on a rehab assignment, he’s playing, we just don’t know yet,” Martinez said.
“He’s going to just continue to play down there until he feels like he’s ready to go.”
Murphy had previously explained that he doesn’t want to come back before he’s 100% ready and potentially end up on the DL again.
“I only want to come off the DL once,” Murphy said in early May, when he visited with the team’s doctors in D.C. to see how he was progressing at that point. “I’ve said that before.”
“I’m no good to anybody if I come off and I’m limited and I can’t play on a daily basis, and the team kind of has to carry me as a passenger, so I want to be prepared [so] that when I come off the DL I only have to do it once.”
After eight games with the Senators, Murphy is now 7 for 31 (.226/.333/.387) with a home run, two doubles, four walks, and four Ks.
Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies this morning that it’s still the case that they want to make sure Murphy’s 100% and more importantly fully-confident that his knee is healed.
“We expect him to be back this year, soon,” Rizzo said, “... and to help us, but we want him back here 100% like we’ve said. He’s been hitting a lot, so the hitting portion of it should be fine. The lateral movement on defense is something that we’re concentrating on, and the deceleration when he runs is something that we’re concentrating on.
“When he’s in burst-mode and sprint-mode he’s fine, it’s the deceleration that he’s worried about.
“He’s got to trust that the knee is healthy,” Rizzo continued, “cause your mind will not allow the knee to perform at its optimal level until your instincts kick in and you have to do it naturally, so we’re just waiting for that. I think it’s repetitions and strengthening of the knee, and just playing a full nine-inning game is an accomplishment, and once he does that back-to-back days, and can handle the grind of a season then I think we’ll see him back.
“We don’t want to bring him back and have him back and have him getting prepared to play at the major league level. We’ll prepare him on his rehab and we’ll bring him back, and he’ll be ready to go when he gets here.”