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Borbon Named Starter, Murphy Left Out to Dry

By Adam Boedeker
|  Tuesday, Feb 22, 2011  |  Updated 12:39 PM CDT
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Borbon Named Starter, Murphy Left Out to Dry

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After waiting around and paying his dues as one of the league's top fourth outfielders, it looks like David Murphy is still stuck.

This time, he's losing a chance because of Julio Borbon, yes, Julio Borbon, and a concerted effort to preserve the baseball golden boy, Josh Hamilton.

Murphy, at one point last fall, carried the Rangers. When Hamilton went on the DL and missed most of September, Murphy was the only guy in the lineup hitting, and helped the Rangers protect their comfortable lead in the AL West.

He's also a good-to-great outfielder with a well above average throwing arm. Last year, he made up a Rangers outfield (when he played) that could've arguably been the best throwing outfield in all of baseball with Murphy in left, Hamilton in center and Nelson Cruz in right.

Last year, Murphy started off the season with a terrible, almost once-in-a-career bad stretch at the plate, and still dug his way out of a horrible first month to amazingly hit .291 in 419 at-bats.

Borbon, after a promising, brief stint in the bigs in 2009 regressed horribly last season, and by the end of the year was nothing but a pinch runner for the Rangers after Murphy locked down a regular spot in the outfield.

In 46 games in 2009, Borbon hit four home runs and stole 19 bags and was subsequently penciled in as the leadoff hitter for 2010. That failed miserably as he eventually gave way to Elvis Andrus while hitting .276 and stealing just 15 bags with 19 walks.

And last week, Ron Washington came out and said Borbon was the starting centerfielder? Yep. Sure did. Do you really think Borbon has earned that spot? I get wanting to move Hamilton from center to preserve his health. He'll play left field this year. Cruz will play right. It kind of leaves Murphy out in the dark because he doesn't have the range of a centerfielder, but to just give Borbon the job without a competition is a bit of a misjudgment, I'd say.

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