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.
Stephen Strasburg‘s bat was on fire Thursday night in Atlanta. He hit a three-run home run off of Touki Toussaint to cap off an eight-run third inning, then added a two-run single off of Toussaint in the fifth.
The last time a pitcher knocked in at least five runs was on April 11, 2014 when Madison Bumgarner homered and drove in five runs at home against the Rockies. Strasburg is just the seventh pitcher since 2000 to knock in five runs in one game. The others, along with Strasburg and Bumgarner:
- Chris Carpenter (Cardinals) vs. Reds, October 1, 2009 (HR, 6 RBI)
- Jason Marquis (Cubs) vs. Mets, September 22, 2008 (HR, 5 RBI)
- Micah Owings (Diamondbacks) vs. Braves, August 18, 2007 (2 HR, 6 RBI)
- Robert Person (Phillies) vs. Expos, June 2, 2002 (HR, 7 RBI)
- Shawn Estes (Giants) vs. Expos, May 24, 2000 (HR, 5 RBI)
Strasburg is 3-for-3 overall as he also singled to lead off the third. Tonight’s homer marked the fourth of his career and he’s now up to 25 RBI.
Strasburg is performing well on the mound as well. At the time of this writing, he has held the Braves to a lone run on four hits and a walk with six strikeouts over four innings as the Nationals lead 10-1.