The Nationals have activated second baseman Daniel Murphy ahead of Tuesday night’s game against the Yankees. He’s serving as the DH and batting fifth in what will be his season debut.
Murphy, 33, had microfracture surgery back in October on his right knee. His return will be a boon for the Nationals. Last season, he hit .322/.384/.543 with 23 home runs and 93 RBI in 593 plate appearances, helping the club reach the postseason for a second consecutive season.
Howie Kendrick mostly handled second base until he suffered an Achilles injury a month ago. Wilmer Difo, with an unimpressive .676 OPS, had been the regular second baseman since. Difo will cede second base to Murphy likely after the Nats’ two road interleague series with the Yankees and Blue Jays.
Former Yankees skipper Joe Girardi has reportedly withdrawn his name for consideration in the Reds’ managerial search, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Per Rosenthal, Girardi was considered the frontrunner for the position, but elected to keep his current gig as an MLB Network analyst for the foreseeable future.
The 54-year-old skipper holds a lifetime 988-794 record in 11 years with the Marlins and Yankees. He cut his teeth on the Marlins’ 2006 season, during which the team skidded to a fourth-place finish in the NL East, then helped the Yankees to 10 consecutive winning records and a World Series title. While Mark Feinsand of MLB.com adds that Girardi “absolutely wants to manage again,” it’s unclear when and with whom he might choose to do so.
Without Girardi, the Reds still have several candidates left in play, not the least of whom is retired MLB third baseman David Bell. Bell previously served as the Reds’ Double-A and Triple-A manager from 2008-2012 and racked up a cumulative 227-332 record during that span. His resume also includes several coaching positions with the Cubs and Cardinals, and most recently, a role as VP of player development for the Giants in 2018. As Rosenthal points out, however, the 46-year-old coach is hardly a lock for a managerial spot with the Reds, as he’s also made a strong impression on the Blue Jays, Rangers, and Giants this fall.