Rox recall Murphy; Ottavino throws in Philly
CarGo looks strong in BP; Oberg does light throwing
PHILADELPHIA -- Newly recalled Rockies catcher Tom Murphy arrived at Citizens Bank Park Tuesday with a smile, which may be as important as his potential right-handed power.
Murphy, 27, earned the promotion from Triple-A Albuquerque by hitting .289 and 16 home runs, which rank second in the Pacific Coast League. He also had 14 doubles, two triples, 45 RBIs and 34 runs scored. The club optioned outfielder Mike Tauchman back to Triple-A.
Murphy continued swinging a hot bat in his return to the Majors on Tuesday against the Phillies. He started and went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI singles in the Rockies' 5-4 loss.
After debuting in the Majors in 2015, playing 11 games, Murphy batted .273 with five home runs and 13 RBIs in 21 games in '16. Last season, the Rockies summoned him when injuries hit the catching corps in June and, possibly trying too hard to impress, Murphy went 1-for-20 and was not smooth defensively before being sent back to Albuquerque.
Having addressed his offensive "rhythm and flow" with Albuquerque hitting coach Tim Doherty and worked to build his feel of receiving techniques, Murphy said relaxing is a key to an improved experience.
"It's being more comfortable with who I am," Murphy said. "Not putting up a wall or front for anyone, but showing who I am and being that person. Part of it is laughing and having a good time."
MILB Video - Title: Watch: Murphy hits 12th HR - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=2079929083
Murphy joins Chris Iannetta and Tony Wolters to give the Rockies three catchers on the active roster -- much like the D-backs, who carry Alex Avila, Jeff Mathis and John Ryan Murphy. Wolters, the left-handed hitter among the group, also can play in the infield in a pinch.
"It gives the ability of allowing someone who is not playing the chance to pinch-hit," said Iannetta, part of a three-catcher system with the D-backs last year. "In a two-catcher scenario, the last catcher is the last guy off the bench, as a safety net. You get a little more flexibility.
"It definitely can work. It takes a good dynamic and a good working relationship with all three guys pulling for each other, making sure everyone does their part, pulling for all three guys, sharing information. We did that last year in Arizona. We genuinely wanted one another to do well."
After the series in Philadelphia, the Rockies will have a three-game Interleague set at Texas, which could provide more opportunity for a bat like Murphy's. Manager Bud Black said there is "no timetable on anything. We're just trying to find that right combination of 25 guys that will help us win. With 'Murph,' you'll see him getting some at-bats, some starts."
• After a live batting practice session Tuesday, righty Adam Ottavino, out with a left oblique strain, could return as soon as Thursday. He will be evaluated by the medical staff on Wednesday.
Ottavino, who has a 0.95 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings, threw 38 pitches -- the last 18 against Ryan McMahon and Noel Cuevas -- and reported feeling normal.
"The first batter, I missed a couple [pitches] I wanted to make, but then I thought I was pretty good after that -- mixing my pitches up, trying to pitch to the hitters' weaknesses and trying to get them out," said Ottavino, who added he wants to be sure he doesn't rush back.
• Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who missed the past two games with a rib problem that required chiropractic treatment, placed several balls into the upper deck during batting practice and was in Tuesday's starting lineup.
• Righty Scott Oberg, who went to the disabled list Sunday with a lower back strain, did light throwing.