David Murphy has long been a trooper for the Texas Rangers, playing when and where he's needed and not raising a stink when he's given days off by manager's decision as a platoon fourth outfielder that doesn't hit against left-handed pitching.
That all changed in 2012 when Murphy was the one bright spot in the Rangers lineup during a team-wide swoon through June and July and ended up with a career high in plate appearances and at-bats. Murphy became the everyday left fielder as the season went on and had a career year, hitting .304 with 29 doubles, 15 homers and 61 RBIs and a .380 on-base percentage — one of the best on the team.
Heading into 2013, Murphy has earned the respect of not only many Rangers fans and his teammates, but perhaps most importantly, he's gotten the blessing of the Rangers front office.
"David's one of the most consistent guys we had [last season]," Rangers GM Jon Daniels said in a conference call on Thursday. "He had a lot of quality at-bats in big spots and handled himself well against left-handed pitching."
But it wasn't just Murphy's play at the plate that impressed Daniels, as Murphy had probably his best season defensively as well and turned from a liability in the field to a weapon with a fielding percentage of .995 and four outfield assists.
"One of the underrated parts was he got a lot better defensively, and he worked on that and it showed," Daniels said. "Left field is a big field in our park, and I thought he got a lot better out there."
So there you go. It seems as though Murphy will have his name planted firmly in left field when Opening Day rolls around in April.