Daniel Murphy to play second base during winter ball

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Luis Castillo hasn’t started a game in 18 days as the Mets give 20-year-old rookie Ruben Tejada a long look at second base and Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports that they’re also giving Daniel Murphy a crash course on the middle infield with an eye toward him playing second base during winter ball.
Murphy was in line to be the Opening Day first baseman this season before a knee injury ruined those plans. After getting healthy he headed to Triple-A and saw some action at second base because Ike Davis had first base locked down, but that also proved short-lived when a takeout slide knocked him out for the season with an injury to the same knee.
Rubin reports that Murphy is currently getting instructional league reps at second base and will continue to play the position in the Dominican Republic this winter. Whether or not his playing there regularly in the majors is a realistic option remains unclear. He’s played a grand total of 19 games there as a pro, all in the minors, and wasn’t exactly a standout defender at first base or left field.
At this point it seems pretty obvious that the Mets will do everything possible to rid themselves of Castillo during the offseason, even if it means eating the majority of his remaining contract. Tejada has shown very little offensively in the majors or minors, so seeing if Murphy can become a reasonable backup plan makes sense. I just can’t imagine “Daniel Murphy, second baseman” working out particularly well.

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.

Rays activate Kevin Kiermaier

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The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.

Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.