ARLINGTON -- The Rangers led, 3-1, going into the seventh inning on Saturday night when left-fielder David Murphy made two excellent defensive plays behind reliever Alexi Ogando. Murphy went to the line to run down Elliot Johnson's line drive and then went to the wall to haul down Jose Molina's long drive.
The Rangers then broke the game open with four runs in the bottom of the inning and Murphy ended up playing the whole game. But manager Ron Washington said he is still going to use Craig Gentry on defense for Murphy in close games. In those situations, Gentry would go into center and Josh Hamilton would move to left.
"That's my best defense," Washington said. "That's what Gentry's job is, to be a defensive replacement and to play against left-handers. I want to allow him to do his job. The plays Murphy made [on Saturday], he might not have made last year. But that's Gentry's job. ... I want him to know what his role is and when that situation [presents] itself, he's ready to do that."
Murphy went into Spring Training with the goal of improving his defense. The Rangers believe he has accomplished that simply by being more aggressive and getting better jumps on balls.
"I'm getting good jumps," Murphy said. "It helps me to make any type of play. It's giving me more opportunities and more room for error. That's all I want.
"I don't want to go back thinking, 'Could I have caught that ball?" I had some of those the last few years. I wanted to eliminate those. There were more that I didn't get to than I wanted. I can't catch everything, but I want to be able to say that."