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.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude April 22, 2009 at 1:00 pm
    Worried, concerned, scared sh*tless. Whatever, it’s all semantics. The bottom line is Murphy is costing the Mets games with his poor defense and his leash is getting shorter and shorter with each costly miscue. The Mets have no shortage of productive LF options, so despite Murphy’s contribition on offense, Jerry should not feel like he is forced into playing Murph everyday just because he can hit .300.

    By the way, Joe, I think you mean that the Mets play the Nationals on Friday, not the Fish.

  2. nwaldrop April 22, 2009 at 2:18 pm
    What concerns me most about Murphy was reading his postgame comments from last night saying,”I did nothing wrong. I just slipped.” Obviously he did something wrong because no major league players do everything correct and just fall down. But also Murphy is a talented athlete and benching him at this point of the season is unjustified. If Manny can play left field then Murphy can also. He will get better.