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Murphy makes first start of season at 2B

Nats to hold simulated game for Adams, Zimmerman, Wieters
MLB.com @JamalCollier

PHILADELPHIA -- After Saturday night's loss to the Phillies, where Daniel Murphy was limited to just a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning, he and Nats manager Dave Martinez had a discussion about his status. Murphy was feeling much better, and he thought his swing on that pinch-hit double in the ninth was one of the best he'd made since his surgery.

Since Murphy's surgically repaired right knee was truly feeling strong, Martinez asked him about playing second base, and Murphy agreed he could do it. He started at second in Sunday's series finale againt the Phillies for the first time in the Majors this season, and he went 0-for-5 with a walk and a run scored in the 4-3, 13-inning loss.

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PHILADELPHIA -- After Saturday night's loss to the Phillies, where Daniel Murphy was limited to just a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning, he and Nats manager Dave Martinez had a discussion about his status. Murphy was feeling much better, and he thought his swing on that pinch-hit double in the ninth was one of the best he'd made since his surgery.

Since Murphy's surgically repaired right knee was truly feeling strong, Martinez asked him about playing second base, and Murphy agreed he could do it. He started at second in Sunday's series finale againt the Phillies for the first time in the Majors this season, and he went 0-for-5 with a walk and a run scored in the 4-3, 13-inning loss.

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Video: WSH@PHI: Morgan gets out of jam, induces ground out

"I really believe he's our second baseman, and he's back," Martinez said. "So if he wants to play, then you know what, it's time for him to go out there and play second base, see what he can do and see where we're at."

Murphy had been playing primarily at first base since returning from the disabled list on June 12. He had not started the previous two games in Philadelphia after he came to Martinez and said his legs were not feeling well. But after hitting in the cage on Saturday, Murphy said he felt much better and was available to play the field.

The Nats have had to monitor Murphy's right knee as he works his way back to 100 percent from microfracture surgery in October. Martinez has approached Murphy's case cautiously, only wanting him to play the field in an "emergency situation" -- even after Murphy's double in the ninth inning on Saturday, for example, he was removed for a pinch-runner. Although Murphy owns a .442 OPS without a home run in 57 at-bats since his return, he says his swing is starting to feel better.

"I didn't have any expectations of what this would look like," Murphy said. "I've had knee injuries before, but I've never had surgery before. So I can speak to as many guys who have had it and their experiences, but they were never my own experiences. So even talking to [Dodgers third baseman] Justin Turner, the surgeon and our training staff who have dealt with this, until I went through it, I was never going to know."

Video: PHI@WSH: Murphy puts Nats ahead with 2-run single

Worth noting

The Nationals will hold a simulated game Monday at Nationals Park for three of their injured position players. Matt Adams (finger), Ryan Zimmerman (oblique) and Matt Wieters (hamstring) will hit against Minor Leaguers to help their progress as they work back from their respective injuries.

Of the trio, Adams is the closest to returning. His fractured finger is not giving him any more issues, and he has not felt any discomfort when he swings. If all goes well, he could be activated from the DL in the next few days.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Daniel Murphy