The Rockies on Thursday called up catcher Tom Murphy, the slugger who missed the first 10 weeks of the season with a broken right arm. And now, finally, their core catching corps is intact.
“It’s almost like opening day,” Murphy said. “You know you’re going to be a really good team. That’s the feeling I have right now.”
Murphy was in line to compete with Tony Wolters for the Rockies’ starting catcher job on opening day. But Murphy fractured his lower arm throwing to second base in a spring training game against the Cubs when his arm hit Anthony Rizzo’s bat on a throw to second base.
The Rockies initially thought Murphy might miss 4-6 weeks. In his absence, Wolters played in 42 of the club’s 68 games. Veteran Ryan Hanigan, signed late in March for depth, and Dustin Garneau, filled in for Murphy. Colorado optioned Hanigan to the minor-leagues on Thursday to make room for Murphy.
Colorado manager Bud Black immediately placed Murphy in the Rockies lineup. He hit eighth against the Giants at Coors Field.
“To me, it’s just making sure I remember what type of player I am and how I go about the game,” Murphy said. He was sent to Triple-A Albuquerque on June 3 for a rehab assignment, then hit 12-for-29 (.414) with a home run, a triple and four doubles in seven games.
Murphy, too, used his time away working on his defensive posture. With his arm immobilized, Murphy could not hit while he was injured. But Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond, a former major-league catcher, drilled Murphy on footwork and balance.
“Right now, this is the best catching I’ve ever had,” Murphy said.
CarGo sits again. Carlos Gonzalez, the Rockies veteran right fielder, was not in the starting lineup for a second consecutive game.
He is healthy, but mired, going 0-for-20 on the Rockies’ seven-game road trip through Chicago and Pittsburgh. His sitting was the manager’s decision.
“Giving him a couple days to clean the slate,” Black said. “He’ll be in there tomorrow. When he gets it, he can go on a tear. And I still think that’s going to happen.”
Giants RHP Jeff Samardzija (2-8, 4.31) at Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (8-2, 3.84), 6:40 p.m., ROOT, 850 AM
Samardzija is running on hard luck. His southward win-loss record is a perfect example of why wins are misleading. The Giants’ veteran right-hander has 100 strikeouts this season, 31 more than the Rockies’ top K guy, Tyler Chatwood. And Samardzija has walked only two batters since May 3, an extraordinary command and control streak over his past eight starts. Senzatela, on the other hand, has a great win-loss record, despite a disturbing 6.46 ERA in his past three starts, including a season-low four-inning outing last week at Chicago. He earned a no-decision in that game.
Saturday: Giants RHP Matt Cain (3-5, 5.22) at Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (7-4, 3.57), 1:10 p.m., ROOT
Sunday: Giants LHP Ty Blach (4-4, 4.24) at Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-7, 4.16), 1:10 p.m., ROOT