2/11 Murphy: “We just have to put it together”
The Cubs have lost 197 games the last two seasons combined, and aren’t predicted to finish at the top of the tough National League Central this year. Don’t tell Donnie Murphy that.
“Everything you read out there, we’re one of the worst teams in baseball,” Murphy said Tuesday of the preseason prognosticators. “I think that’s a lot of motivation. Twenty-five of us don’t think we’re the worst team in baseball.
“We all look at [that critique] as a positive and it makes us even more hungry and we want to prove people wrong,” he said. “I think guys will bounce back. Everybody knows [Starlin] Castro isn’t that kind of player, everybody knows [Darwin] Barney isn’t that kind of player, everybody knows [Anthony] Rizzo isn’t a .230 hitter.
“We have guys who can bounce back and put together good years, and you make a decent run and hopefully get close and make the playoffs. We know what type of players we have in this clubhouse. We just have to put it together.”
Murphy, 30, is hoping he’s one of the guys who gets a chance to do that with the Cubs. Promoted to the big league team last Aug. 3, Murphy hit a career-high 11 home runs in 46 games with the Cubs, equaling his total between the 2008, 2010-12 seasons combined.
Despite his short time with the Cubs, he finished third among the third baseman in games played and total at-bats, trailing Luis Valbuena and Cody Ransom. Ransom signed with a Japanese team this year, but Valbuena is back along with Mike Olt, acquired from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal last July.
Valbuena, who batted .218 and hit 12 home runs in 94 games at third, is considered the leading candidate to start there on Opening Day. Olt, who appears to have overcome vision problems, will contend for the job as well. Murphy hasn’t been mentioned much.
“That’s fine,” he said after a workout with some of the early bird position players at the Cubs’ new spring facility. “It means I’m under the radar. That’s fine with me. I don’t take exception to that. I know there’s Valbuena, I know there’s Olt. There’s going to be competition, but it’s fun competition. We’re all good friends and it’s all good nature.”
— Carrie Muskat