The Nationals' handling Daniel Murphy's left buttock strain as they approach Game 1 of the NL Division Series has been the definition of taking it day-to-day. Even 24 hours before first pitch, Murphy and his manager Dusty Baker were not ready to commit fully to him being in the starting lineup. The assumption remains that he will be there, but nothing is quite official yet.
"Tomorrow’s not promised to any of us. So there’s always a chance I’m not in there. But I feel confident right now. I’m going to try everything I can to be in there tomorrow," Murphy said.
The Nats second baseman continued to simulate as much as possible in his on-field workout on Thursday. He took batting practice, grounders in the infield and ran sprints, all under the watchful eye of the Nationals training staff. Running, in particular is the biggest test for him right now.
"He looked pretty good. And you know, he says he's ready and so, therefore, you know, we think he's ready," Baker said. "He did about everything that you could do simulating the game. Everything but slide. But yeah, he looked pretty good."
Murphy ramped up his workout on Wednesday to turn double plays and field grounders hit far to his left and right. Thursday he took a slight step back in the intensity of his workout, but by design.
“I felt really good out there. Harvey [Sharman], the head trainer, put my through a good workout. I think we kind of tapered it down a little bit today, just like a little bit of a recovery day. But it was good to hit the bases, cut and I felt really good out there.”
One other piece of news was shared on Thursday that relates to Murphy and his injury. The Nationals announced that Wilmer Difo has made the playoff roster. He will be on the bench in part as a contingency plan for Murphy, in case he aggravates his injury mid-game.
"[Difo] can play all three infield positions, and with Daniel Murphy still coming off an injury, he gives us a possibility at second base late in the game and run for Daniel Murphy, as well," Baker said.
At this point, it appears Murphy is good to go for Game 1. But that doesn't mean his injury will not be in mind when the Nats take the field on Friday evening.
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