OAKLAND -- Rangers manager Ron Washington's original plan was to start Julio Borbon on Friday night against Oakland left-hander Dallas Braden. He changed his mind. David Murphy ended up starting instead. He is making it hard for Washington to take him out of the lineup. "Awfully hard," Washington said. "It's a good thing though. I can't rightly pull him out of the lineup."
Murphy had a three-run homer in Wednesday's 11-6 victory over the Mariners and a two-run homer on Thursday. That one came in the seventh inning off Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez and broke up a scoreless pitching duel. "The guy has been swinging the bat," Washington said. "Let's go beyond the guy hitting two home runs. That was huge. ... He's just playing good baseball. It's hard to take him out because offense is something we need right now." Murphy, who is technically the Rangers' fourth outfielder, has started 12 of 21 games since the All-Star break. "I'm not making anything out of it," Murphy said. "Nothing has been said to me and I'm not reading anything to it. I just need to keep playing well and give it everything I've got." Murphy had some concerns in Spring Training about how much he might play this season, especially with Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and Vladimir Guerrero in the lineup. Murphy is not going to have anywhere near the required number of plate appearances to be listed among league leaders but he is satisfied that Washington still has much confidence in him. "Definitely, especially the way the team has played," Murphy said. "How am I going to question playing time with the way this team has played? I figure whatever combination Wash puts out there will have success, so I trust the coaching staff and Wash that when he makes out the lineup, he feels it's best for the team on a given night." Washington said he has talked to Borbon about the situation. "I talked to Borbon and told him he's going to play," Washington said. "He has been a part of everything we're trying to do. Right now, we're riding the hot hand. He understands. He wants to win as bad as anybody out there. It's about winning ballgames and we're going to win ballgames with Borbon in there."