Murphy's return means new infield alignment for Mets
NEW YORK -- A successful rehab stint has infielder Daniel Murphy set to rejoin the Mets after a three-and-a-half week absence, making Wilmer Flores' move to second base a reality.
Following a team off day Monday, the Mets are prepared to activate Murphy before Tuesday's series opener against the Cubs.
Manager Terry Collins said that Murphy will play third base for now, with Flores shifting from shortstop to second and Ruben Tejada taking over short. The Mets used that middle-infield alignment for the first time in Sunday's 7-2 win over the Reds, and may continue to use it until David Wright comes off the DL in the season's second half.
Murphy, who has been on the disabled list since June 5 due to a left quad strain, went 1-for-3 and played five innings at third base Sunday in his final rehab game for Class A Advanced St. Lucie. He was 7-for-12 over the final three games of his rehab stint, playing exclusively third base on defense.
"I've said from the start, this kid played fine at shortstop," Collins said of Flores. "He made a couple errors that cost us a couple runs at time, but … he can play second base. He showed us that last September. And if you go back and look at September, we played pretty good with Flores playing second and Dan at third and Ruben at shortstop. I just thought with Dan coming back, we certainly don't have a timeframe on David -- I just thought this was our best infield, so we're going to run it out there on a nightly basis."
Murphy, 30, hit .283 with four home runs and a .749 OPS in 55 games prior to his injury. He was the Mets' hottest hitter in the seven weeks leading up to it, batting .346 with three of his homers and an .883 OPS from April 26 through June 4, the day he strained his quadriceps.
Flores committed 10 errors in 69 games at shortstop, though he also hurt the Mets with plays that did not show up in the box score -- missed double plays, infield hits, and so on and so forth. He owned a .973 fielding percentage at second base in the Minors, compared to .958 at shortstop and .949 at third base.