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David Murphy Has Minor Groin Strain

Per Evan Grant.

I suppose this is the best news you could hope for when you know there’s an injury. There’s no tear, he’s day to day.

You want David Murphy to be healthy for the playoffs, though. It seems Josh Hamilton shouldn’t be playing centerfield on a regular basis, but (assuming he’s healthy enough to play the field), Hamilton in center, Murphy in left and Cruz in right gives the Rangers the best chance of winning. It is a good defensive outfield and a very good hitting outfield.

Murphy has had one hell of a season given the expectations he’s set with his previous years. His 2.6 Wins Above Replacement (per FanGraphs) is a career high, despite fewer plate appearances than last season. He’s usually performed at roughly the level of a mediocre every day player in the past. In 2010, he’s been closer to an All-Star. His .358 weighted On Base Average is also a career high.

What seemed like a solid 4th outfielder coming in to the year is someone we really, really want playing in October. Now, that doesn’t mean the Rangers are sunk without him. Julio Borbon in center makes the Rangers’ defense even better, and in the typically lower run environment of the playoffs that’s even more handy than it is during the regular season. Hopefully, putting Josh Hamilton in left makes it easier for him to play 11-19 games in a month. By WAR, Murphy has been nearly twice as good as Borbon, but in a five game sample (thinking ALDS here) it still comes down to only about 9% of a win for Murphy vs. 5% of a win for Borbon.

So, while it would certainly be harder to knock off the Rays/Yankees without Murphy — at the very least because it means less depth — it’s very possible. However, beyond simply having a weaker team on the field, it’s been so ridiculously frustrating to go through this season without seeming to ever have the optimal squad going at once. And after what may be David Murphy’s break out year, it would sure suck if he couldn’t play in October.

Please be healthy, Murph!

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.