Spring thoughts: David Murphy drilling lefties
The reason? He quit trying to crush the ball. Sometimes, less is more.
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“I stopped trying to hit 900-foot homers and started trying to hit singles,” Murphy said. “When you’re trying to hit singles you stay back on the ball better and you can determine whether it’s a fastball or off-speed pitch.
“Everybody loves homers. I’d like to hit more, but when you’re up there swinging as hard as you can you’re swinging almost as soon as the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand.”
Since Murphy wasn’t swinging for the fences, he became more selective at the plate. Instead of finding himself behind in the count 1-2, making him susceptible to sliders out of the strike zone, Murphy consistently worked the count to his advantage. That allowed Murphy to sit on fastballs and whack them. Now, Murphy, who has just one homer in his last 296 at-bats against left-handed pitchers, is focused on driving the ball. His last homer against a lefty came July 6, 2010 against Cleveland’s Rafael Perez.
“He can fill multiple roles,” manager Ron Washington said. “He can go long for us if he has to, and he can go short if he has to.”
Lowe is scheduled to throw live batting practice Sunday. Then the Rangers will start preparing him for a role in the big leagues.
Kirkman has allowed two hits in four innings while striking out six. With Robbie Ross vying for a spot in the rotaton, Kirkman is a potentially important component to the bullpen because he is the only other left-handed option. Kirkman has the ability to be equally effective against left-handed and right-handed batters.
Last season, Kirkman finished 1-2 with a 3.82 ERA. He allowed 24 hits in 35 1/3 innings with 38 strikeouts and 17 walks. Opposing hitters hit just .182 against him.
“He’s throwing strikes consistently and he’s been consistent with his secondary stuff,” Washington said. “He’s keeping the ball down and he’s throwing downhill. I just hope he can continue because he’s going to be a big piece for us.”
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