After making the Twins' Opening Day roster, Murphy couldn't get any rhythm going at the plate, as he was hitting .075/.119/.100 (3-for-40) in 11 games before he was sent down. He initially struggled with Rochester as well, hitting .154/.230/.169 in his first month with the Red Wings, but he found consistency down the stretch, hitting .378 with two homers and eight RBIs in his last 14 games.
"It's good to have him back," said Twins manager Paul Molitor. "His year was trying, I think, in terms of coming out of spring and having trouble getting going here offensively. It continued down there for a while. He had a fairly good finish to his Triple-A season, and I'm hoping some of that confidence emerges up here."
Murphy gives the Twins needed depth on the bench, with reserve outfielder Robbie Grossman still dealing with oblique soreness. Reinforcements should soon be on the way, though, as many of the Twins' projected September callups are still with Rochester through the end of the Minor League season on Monday.
"With Kurt [Suzuki] and Juan [Centeno] and Murph now, it's going to be trying to give them all chances to some degree," Molitor said about his catcher situation. "It certainly eliminates any fear I might have of pinch-hitting for one of those guys if the situation warrants it, having some protection on the defensive end with that third catcher."
Molitor believes that Murphy was getting a little pull-conscious at the start of the year and that he would expand the zone up a little bit, but the skipper hopes that Murphy can take advantage of his playing time in September to continue to work on his approach at the plate and put the demons of his sluggish start behind him.
"He shows signs that when he sticks with his plan, he gets better results, which is true for most guys," Molitor said. "He's got enough strength and enough bat speed to be a decent hitter, and I think we still believe that. Sometimes, overcoming a tough start is as much mental as it is physical."