David Murphy tested his injured groin Monday by taking batting practice, shagging some flyballs and doing some light throwing, according to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com.
“I feel good,” Murphy said. “I probably ran out there at 50 to 60 percent. I’m not going to know until I ramp it up some more.”
Murphy hasn’t played since last straining his left groin during last Wednesday’s game against the Mariners. He told Durrett that he thinks he will be good to go for the ALDS if he is at 80 to 85 percent.
The good news is that because Jeff Francoeur is expected to be in the starting lineup as the right fielder in Game 1 against left-hander David Price on Wednesday, Murphy will actually have an extra day to get ready.
The 28-year-old Murphy batted .291/.358/.449 with 12 homers and 65 RBI during the regular season, including a .298 batting average and 847 OPS against right-handers. After Wednesday, the Rangers are tentatively scheduled to face James Shields, Matt Garza and (if necessary) Wade Davis — all of them right-handers. Just one of those little things to look out for.
Mets right-hander Matt Harvey is heading to the bullpen, according to comments made by club manager Mickey Callaway on Saturday. As predicted, Harvey doesn’t appear to be taking the news particularly well, going so far as to tell Callaway that the decision has him “at a 10 with being pissed off” and that he’s motivated to prove himself as a starter.
It’s been rough going for Harvey this spring. After missing significant time to a shoulder injury last season, the 29-year-old righty returned to the mound with a lot left to prove. He pitched to an 0-2 record in four starts, issuing 14 runs, four home runs and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings. It’s been a while since the Mets have seen anything better out of their starter — he hasn’t turned in a sub-4.00 ERA since 2015 and hasn’t pitched well enough to earn an All-Star berth since 2013 — and now it appears they’re at the end of their rope.
At this point, the Mets insist that the shift is a temporary one. While Callaway has helped successfully convert several starters to the bullpen, including Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco, that’s not the plan for this veteran right-hander. Instead, both the team and Harvey seem to view the change as a way to clear up any mental blocks Harvey may be encountering on the mound. “We know he’s healthy,” assistant GM John Ricco told reporters. “He’s feeling good. Then you get to, is this a little bit of a mental thing, a confidence thing? One of the things we talk about is getting him into the ‘pen, where he can have success in short spurts, get that confidence back and really let it go and get back to being a guy who can dominate the way he’s shown in the past.”
Harvey will be eligible to pitch out of the bullpen on Tuesday, when the Mets are scheduled to kick off their next road series against the Cardinals. As for his replacement, left-hander Jason Vargas will resume his role in the rotation when he comes off the disabled list next Saturday.