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Murphy gets rare start against southpaw

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ANAHEIM -- David Murphy was back in the Rangers' lineup on Wednesday with a left-hander on the mound for the Angels. But he was also batting eighth behind Craig Gentry. Manager Ron Washington said he wanted Gentry's right-handed bat between his left-handed hitters. Washington had A.J. Pierzynski batting sixth and Mitch Moreland ninth.

"I'm just trying to break up my left-handed hitters, that's all that is," Washington said.

Murphy was out of the lineup on Tuesday with left-hander Jason Vargas on the mound for the Angels. But he had to enter the game in the first inning after Jeff Baker banged his knee against the wall making a sliding catch. Murphy ended up going 1-for-4 on the night with a single off of Vargas in the sixth. He also grounded into a double play against left-handed reliever Scott Downs in the eighth, although a run scored on the play.

"I feel better against left-handers than I do against right-handers. ... It's more of a simple approach," Murphy said. "Last night I missed a few pitches I could have hit, but I made an adjustment late in the game and had some good at-bats. Even the double-play ball, I hit it really well, I just hit it right at the guy. Downs is as tough of a left-hander as there is coming into the game like that, with his stuff and movement."

Murphy went into Thursday's game hitting .194 for the season, including 5-for-22 (.227) against left-handers. Last year he batted .347 against them. The Rangers are scheduled to face left-handers Scott Diamond and Pedro Hernandez on Friday and Saturday against the Twins. The Rangers are unsure if Baker will be back in the lineup, but he can play other positions as well.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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