NEW YORK -- Dave Martinez is enthused about Daniel Murphy, everything from his booming bat to his leadership skills.
And now Murphy has taken another step toward actually playing for the Nationals' new manager. Martinez said before Wednesday night's game against the Mets at Citi Field that the 33-year-old second baseman has begun playing extended spring training games in West Palm Beach, Fla., in his comeback from microfracture surgery on his right knee in October.
Martinez said the first game came Tuesday. He reported that Murphy got five at-bats and ran the bases. Murphy also fielded 35 grounders.
"He did good," Martinez said. "Progression every day. We just want him to get better each and every day. The beautiful thing is the weather is good and he's able to get a lot more work down there than he would anywhere else."
Asked if he expects Murphy to go play for an affiliate on a rehab assignment, Martinez said, "I think if he stays [in West Palm Beach] and gets his at-bats and he's doing everything that he needs to be doing, he's good."
Murphy has hit .334 with 90 doubles, 48 homers and 197 RBIs over his two seasons with Washington after leaving the Mets as a free agent.
"He's really good," Martinez said. "Of course, he's going to make a huge impact in our lineup. But we want to make sure that when we get him back, we get him back for the long term and he's playing with us every day.
"I like Murphy -- period. That's why he was here for the first part of these couple of weeks, to have him around. He's very influential to the guys, especially the young guys. He's a leader. So I want him around."
Rendon, Wieters injury updates
The Nats should have another booming bat back much sooner. Anthony Rendon hasn't played since fouling a ball off his left big toe last Friday against Colorado, but the third baseman may return for the start of the next series against the Dodgers on Friday in Los Angeles.
"[Rendon is] Still sore, but he is progressing and he's feeling a lot better," Martinez said. "We're hoping to get him back here hopefully by Friday."
Martinez said Matt Wieters has "a bit of a sore wrist," but the catcher was available on Wednesday.
Reynolds back at old home
Matt Reynolds knows Citi Field rather well. The 27-year-old utilityman was drafted by the Mets in 2012 and played 115 games over the past two seasons for New York before he was traded to the Nationals in February.
"It's a weird feeling," Reynolds said. "It was a bittersweet feeling coming back here. But it's fun to get to compete against some of your old teammates and some of your friends."
Reynolds batted .228 in his Mets career, and he was designated for assignment on Feb. 7, the day before he was supposed to fly to Spring Training. The Mets needed to make 40-man roster room for newly signed third baseman Todd Frazier.
"The five days that I was kind of up in the air with what was going on, it was a very stressful time," Reynolds said.
The Mets ended up trading Reynolds to Washington for cash considerations on Feb. 12. He was called up from Triple-A Syracuse on April 7 and had played in six games heading into Wednesday's series finale, going 1-for-9 with an RBI, which came when he pinch-hit and worked out a bases-loaded walk during Washington's six-run rally in the eighth inning of its 8-6 series-opening win Monday night.
"Obviously, I was disappointed because I was looking forward to getting a chance to play for [new Mets manager] Mickey [Callaway] because I heard such great things about him," Reynolds said. "But getting to come to an organization like this, where I only heard about it being a first-class organization, and then obviously having Davey [Martinez], he's one of the best managers I've played for. He really takes care of his guys.
"So being here is awesome. I love being here."