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Murphy catching on with Twins in offseason

Catcher eager for new opportunity, more playing time in 2016
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- John Ryan Murphy woke up from a midday nap after an early morning hunting session with his friend in Virginia on Nov. 11 and noticed he had a voicemail on his cellphone.

It was Yankees general manager Brian Cashman telling Murphy to give him a call back. Murphy wasn't sure what to think, but once he got Cashman on the phone, he was informed that he had been traded to Minnesota for center fielder Aaron Hicks. Twins general manager Terry Ryan was the next to call to welcome Murphy to the organization.

MINNEAPOLIS -- John Ryan Murphy woke up from a midday nap after an early morning hunting session with his friend in Virginia on Nov. 11 and noticed he had a voicemail on his cellphone.

It was Yankees general manager Brian Cashman telling Murphy to give him a call back. Murphy wasn't sure what to think, but once he got Cashman on the phone, he was informed that he had been traded to Minnesota for center fielder Aaron Hicks. Twins general manager Terry Ryan was the next to call to welcome Murphy to the organization.

It was an unexpected turn of events for Murphy, but he's excited about his opportunity with the Twins and he was happy to get a chance to meet his new teammates for the first time at TwinsFest last weekend.

"I'd never done anything like that," Murphy said. "It was all new to me. I think it was really great to get to know the guys. That's the biggest thing. So I'm not going completely blind into Spring Training."

Murphy, 24, played in 67 games as a backup catcher for the Yankees last season, hitting .277/.327/.406 with three homers and 14 RBIs. One of those homers came off Twins closer Glen Perkins to help give the Yankees a comeback win at Target Field.

Video: NYY@MIN: Murphy drills go-ahead three-run shot in 9th

But the Twins believe Murphy is more than a backup catcher and that he can blossom into a solid regular behind the plate. He's set to split duties with Kurt Suzuki this year and Murphy spent the offseason doing whatever he could to get ready for the new opportunity with the Twins.

Murphy, a Bradenton, Fla., native, moved to Tampa this offseason, which is closer to his trainer Phil Wallin, who helped Murphy focus more on flexibility than in years past.

"I've been in Tampa all offseason training," Murphy said. "We have a good group of guys there. We keep it fun. My body felt pretty good. I didn't play that much last year, so I didn't feel like I needed that much time off. I sat around for like a week or two, but then felt like I needed to do something, and so I got right back into it."

Murphy was excited to meet Suzuki at TwinsFest and is looking forward to working with the veteran catcher. And while Murphy is being groomed to be the club's catcher of the future and Suzuki is in the last year of his contract, Murphy doesn't think it'll be an awkward situation and that they'll be able to work together throughout the season.

"I'm really excited," Murphy said. "I wish it started tomorrow so we could get to work. I already talked to Kurt and [pitching coach] Neil Allen about some guys. We didn't get in depth, but I'm going to get some video sent to my iPad to get a head start. It'll be a lot of work to get to know these guys, but I'm really looking forward to working with Kurt."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Minnesota Twins, John Ryan Murphy