Mike Rizzo expects Daniel Murphy to be ready for Game 1 of NLDS

ByEddie Matz via ESPN logo
Wednesday, October 5, 2016

WASHINGTON -- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said he expects Daniel Murphy to be ready for the National League Division Series.

"I think he's going to be ready for Game 1, and we feel confident about that," said Rizzo, speaking at Nationals Park while his team worked out in advance of Friday's NLDS opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Washington, D.C.

During Tuesday's workout, Murphy took live batting practice on the field with the rest of his teammates and also fielded ground balls at second base. Following the team session, Murphy did some running and agility work with trainer Harvey Sharman while skipper Dusty Baker watched.

"I was late [to the manager's news conference] because I was watching him run, which is probably the biggest obstacle that we're trying to overcome," Baker said of Murphy afterward. "He looked pretty good at second base. We didn't have him range very far right or left, but then I saw him running with Harvey and he looked pretty good."

Still, Baker didn't sound quite as confident as Rizzo that his slugger will be good to go Friday.

"You're trying to get his legs strong, and then tomorrow we'll ramp it up some more before we make a true evaluation," Baker said.

The Nationals, who finished first in the NL East, have workouts scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday before kicking off their best-of-five series with the NL West champion Dodgers on Friday afternoon.

Murphy, who did not address the media on Tuesday, has been dealing with a strained left buttocks and hasn't started a game since Sept. 17. He made consecutive pinch-hit appearances on Sept. 19 and 20, then didn't appear in a game until the final day of the regular season, when he pinch hit again.

In his first season with Washington, Murphy, who signed a three-year, $37.5 million deal in December as a free agent, led the National League in slugging (.595) and finished second in batting (.347). In 142 games, he hit 25 home runs and had 104 RBIs, both career highs.

Prior to joining the Nationals, Murphy spent seven seasons with the New York Mets. Last year, he helped lead New York to the NL East title, and then set a major league record by homering in six consecutive postseason games.