ARLINGTON, Texas – Donnie Murphy’s ascension from waiver-wire pickup to possible Opening Day second baseman for the Texas Rangers got started Thursday.
Murphy, who was picked up on a waiver claim from the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, was the starting second baseman against the Quintana Roo Tigers and batted second.
Texas general manager Jon Daniels has said he expects Murphy to make the roster. What he does with the opportunity remains to be seen but Murphy is excited about his chances.
"When another team claims or trades for you, it’s always a positive thing," Murphy said. "That means they think they can help you out."
The Rangers are down to three middle infield candidates on the roster with Murphy joining Josh Wilson and Adam Rosales. The club informed Kensuke Tanaka that he wouldn’t make the Opening Day roster.
Thursday’s game was Texas manager Ron Washington’s first chance to see Murphy in action and he wanted to make the most of it.
"I want to see what he looks like and what he can do," Washington said. "I’ve got him at the top of the order so I can get a good look at his at-bats and give him a chance to get some at-bats in a hurry. This is a chance to look at him."
Murphy is a better offensive player than either Wilson or Rosales. He hit 11 homers for the Cubs last year but his chance of making the roster this year was hampered with the Cubs going with youth, including former Ranger Mike Olt.
Murphy, 31, is also versatile. He was drafted as a shortstop by Kansas City but has played at second, third and in the outfield during his stops with the Royals, Oakland, Miami and Chicago.
He is eager to play in Texas after moving from a rebuilding Chicago team to a Texas team that expects to contend for a playoff spot.
"Playing against the Rangers, I always knew they were going to have a good team no matter what," he said. "It’s nice to come over here and be part of a winning-caliber team. Hopefully I can contribute, and we can run with it."