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Moreland back in lineup; Murphy out

Moreland back in lineup; Murphy out

Moreland back in lineup; Murphy out

ST. PETERSBURG -- First baseman Mitch Moreland was in the lineup after sitting out Sunday's game against the Athletics, but David Murphy was not. Jim Adduci was in left field and Lance Berkman at designated hitter with right-hander Alex Cobb on the mound for the Rays.

Murphy's playing time has been reduced in September. He is hitting .172 in his last 24 games, dropping his season average to .220, but manager Ron Washington said he's not sitting Murphy out completely.

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"I'm going to keep giving him a chance here or there," Washington said. "He might be the one I'm looking for at the right time. Murphy has done a lot for us over the years. This year he has been struggling, but I'm still going to give him a game. I'm just not sure when. He understands. He knows what's happening."

Adduci went into Monday's game 7-for-17 with two walks since being called up at the beginning of September. All of his hits have been singles.

"I know I can hit, but it has been a challenging year," Murphy said. "But I've been on some great teams, and this is still a very talented team. We still have a great opportunity to get to the World Series and be the last team standing. However I can help, I'll be ready."

Moreland went into Monday's game hitless in his last 21 games, including 14 strikeouts. Washington gave him Sunday off to clear his head.

"I think Mitch sometimes is a little hard on himself," hitting coach Dave Magadan said. "Whenever he goes [hitless], he thinks he has to change something or do something to get back on track. As he learns and grows and understands himself, he'll learn to stay with it, trust it and trust what he's doing to get through the tough times.

"When you keep making changes, it makes it tough. You put a lot of pressure on yourself. You are always in a search mode instead of [thinking], 'This is what I am, and I'm going to ride it out.' You don't want it to be a detriment to your development. We all know Mitch had tremendous success at the Minor League level, and he's had success at the Major League level. He's hit 22 home runs. It's in him, but we've got to strive for consistency and spread it out over 600 plate appearances."

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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