Donnie Murphy had hit the wall with the Chicago Cubs, who are either going young at the infield positions or have established players there.
So, he welcomed being placed on waivers and claimed Wednesday by the Texas Rangers. Sure, it made for a hectic day as he tried to pack in one place and head to another, but he is assured of a spot on the Rangers’ Opening Day roster.
Murphy, starting at second base Thursday night, had a double and a three-run homer in his first two at-bats in a 7-4 exhibition victory an at Globe Life Park against Tigres de Quintana Roo, an outfit from Cancun, Mexico.
Manager Ron Washington wanted to get a look at Murphy before deciding his role this season as the Rangers try to fill the 10- to 12-week void created at second when Jurickson Profar suffered a torn shoulder muscle.
“When another team claims or trades for you, it’s always a positive thing. That means they think you can help them out,” Murphy said. “I can play all over the place.
“In this park, I’ve played here before, and this is one of my favorite places to play.”
Josh Wilson and Adam Rosales are left in the mix for a bench spot after Kensuke Tanaka was told that he won’t make the club. Wilson is considered the better defender, but Rosales is on the 40-man roster with a contract that will pay him $750,000.
The decision on the final bench spots — including roster bids by corner infielder Kevin Kouzmanoff and outfielder Jim Adduci — could come down to this weekend in San Antonio.
On Thursday, though, the Rangers were getting acquainted with Murphy.
“Other than Murphy, we’ve had our hands on everybody else,” Washington said. “They know what we want, how we go about our business and what we expect.”
Colby Lewis expects to be ready to join the Rangers after making a minor league start Tuesday, but he isn’t sure if that’s what the Rangers are also planning.
Lewis tossed five scoreless innings Wednesday on 72 pitches against a Seattle lineup that included most of the Mariners’ projected regulars, including second baseman Robinson Cano.
The Rangers want to see him build up to 100 pitches. Lewis, based on how he has felt the day after his past two outings, feels like he’s ready now.
“I’ve got to start that game [Tuesday], and then after that I don’t know if they want me to start another one or what the plan is,” he said. “We’ll just see how it kind of plays out. I’m sure I have to pitch well and do what I’ve got to do to prove that I’m healthy.”
Washington said that Lewis is “very close” to being ready seven months after a hip resurfacing, a procedure that no major leaguer is known to have attempted a comeback after having.
The Rangers are taking the cautious route.
“If we have to reassess, we’ll reassess,” Washington said. “If you judge Colby against that lineup against Seattle, he’s ready. But, hey, this guy just came off a hip injury. We want to make certain that there is no issue, because once he goes into our rotation, we want him for every start we can get.”
The Rangers are also moving slowly with left-hander Matt Harrison, who is on a schedule that could have him available April 23. He is scheduled to start and pitch three innings Friday night in San Antonio against Houston and make four more starts in the minors.