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Sidelined Murphy playing it smart with muscle strain

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- With nearly six full weeks to go before Opening Day, Daniel Murphy is unconcerned about the midsection injury keeping him off the practice field.

Murphy received a cortisone injection Tuesday in New York to reduce inflammation in what Mets doctors diagnosed as a strained right intercostal muscle. He does not expect to participate in baseball activities for a few days.

In the interim, Murphy plans to ice his right side and ride a stationary bike.

"I'm going to have to be smart," Murphy said. "Hopefully it shouldn't take too long before I can start swinging the bat. But I can't go out there the first day and take 250 hacks."

Murphy will not take the field when the Mets open Grapefruit League play Saturday against the Nationals, and he may miss several more games after that. But considering the regular season does not start until April 1, he is hardly worried.

David Wright and Scott Hairston both lost significant time last spring with similar injuries, and both made it back in time for Opening Day.

"I'd rather miss Spring Training time than miss time during the season," Murphy said. "It's a little frustrating to be hurt, to be injured a little bit right now, but better to be smart now than to miss a game April 15."

Upon returning from New York, Murphy made it a point to speak with Wright, who also received a cortisone injection last year. The third baseman advised him to let the medication take its course, and not to test his muscles -- no matter how tempting it may be -- with any swinging or twisting motions.

Entering his second season as the club's starting second baseman, Murphy hit .291 last year with six home runs in 156 games. He recently avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.9 million deal.