Manuel Concerned But Not Worried
The on-the-job training and resulting mistakes of Danny Murphy in left field did not phase Jerry Manuel a week ago, but Murphy’s latest snafu has the Mets manager “concerned”, though not “worried”.
After Murphy fell flat on his kiester on a routine liner, Manuel expressed this sentiment:
“I guess I’m a little concerned – I have to be honest with you,” Manuel said. “I think he’s a hard worker. He does everything we ask him to do. I think for the most part I’d just like to see him relax out there.”
Further, Manuel made it clear that the Mets would barge ahead and take their lumps while Murphy figures out the position:
“I have to keep putting him out there,” Manuel said. “I have to keep putting him out there until we feel that he’s getting comfortable, and I think he will.”
I wonder what Johan Santana’s thoughts are on that? What are the chances that Murphy is the starting left fielder this Friday against the Marlins, when Santana takes the hill? The Fish send Scott Olsen to the mound, who, conveniently, is a lefty. Odds are 3-2 that Gary Sheffield starts in left field that night.
Which brings up another question: will Manuel ever use Sheffield as a defensive replacement for Murphy in the late innings of a ballgame? Laugh all you want at the concept, but the bottom line is that Sheff is not awful in the field, and has played nearly 1600 MLB games in the outfield — a quarter of those in left.