The Texas Rangers acquired outfielder David Murphy in a trade for closer Eric Gagne on Tuesday afternoon. This interview with the Baylor product appeared on DiehardMagazine.com on June 25, 2007.
Diehard Magazine: You had 12 multi-hit games in May. What was going right for you?
David Murphy: The first road trip and first homestand are just kind of shaky, trying to find my swing. And then once I found it, it's been pretty consistent ever since. So I feel that I've had a pretty good approach since then and I've stuck with it.
DH: You're averaging fewer extra-base hits per at-bat this year [23 extra-base hits in 277 at-bats prior to his promotion] than last year [59 extra-base hits in 512 at-bats between Double-A Portland, the PawSox and the Red Sox]. Why do you think that's the case?
DM: I was finding the gaps last year. Just hit a lot of doubles last year, one of those things where I was squaring up the ball well. This year, I've done pretty well, but I've been hitting singles up the middle. Trying to stay with a good middle-of-the-field approach and my power numbers—they're not great, but I'm hitting for a good average and I definitely can't be mad about that.
DH: Conversely, your on-base percentage [.362] is higher than a year ago and you're on pace to easily surpass your career high in walks [he has 33 walks thus far after collecting 60 last season]. Is that something you've tried to improve?
DM: Not necessarily. Just if you see a good pitch, hit it. I guess for the first month I didn't feel like I was that aggressive, I was getting my walks out of it. And for the last month or so, [he's had a] pretty simple approach: Just be aggressive. If it's not there, don't swing at it. It's helped that [Jeff] Bailey and [Brandon] Moss have been swinging well the whole year. Those guys hitting behind me, I usually see pretty good pitches to hit.
DH: You've played all three outfield positions this year. Is that something you're used to?
DM: I played all three last year. It just helps to add to [his] versatility, and the more spots I can play, the better chance I have of getting to the big leagues and staying there. So it's a good thing.
DH: What did you take from your first big league call-up last September?
DM: I think just confidence. I'd never been in the big leagues, but I think playing up there helped me to realize that I was not overmatched, that I was definitely capable of playing up there. It's just a matter of getting up there consistently.
DH: The Red Sox often talk about a player's "finishing stage." What do you think your finishing stage is?
DM: I think it's just consistency. I feel like I'm good enough to play up there—obviously, I only had a sample of 22 at-bats last year to judge from, and baseball's a lot more difficult over the course of 500 at-bats or so. Just one of those things that I'm trying to stay with a consistent approach. I don't want to get too high or too low. I don't want to go 10-for-20 then go 2-for-20. I'm just trying to have great at-bats every single night—not worry so much about numbers, even, just worry about going up there every single at-bat, having a solid approach to whatever the situation dictates and squaring the ball up.
DH: With all the attention paid to recent draftees, do you feel like players such as you and Brandon Moss have flown under the radar a little bit?
DM: It doesn't really matter. Prospect status isn't going to get you to the big leagues. Can't take anything away from the guys on our team—this is a solid team. Guys like [Jacoby] Ellsbury and [Jon] Lester and [Devern] Hansack, those are great quality players. We're not here to compare ourselves to other players. We're not going to get to the big leagues because of what some other player is doing. We're going to get to the big leagues by doing well on our own. I think that's what both of us concentrate on on a daily basis.
DH: What's it been like to be part of this organization as it rebuilds its farm system?
DM: It's fun just to pay with the guys deeper into the minor league system that you played with since you [signed]. I played with Moss in my first year in 2003, just for example. It's fun with that type of atmosphere with younger guys. Obviously, we still have something to put together on this team, but we're a talented team and we're very capable. So we just have to go out there and have fun.
DH: Lastly, now that you've spent some time in the majors, what do you take from some of the big league veterans here?
DM: Just little stuff here and there. Having guys like Michael Tucker or Joe McEwing on the team with a significant amount of big league time—just try to learn as much as possible. It's not like I've learned that much, just little aspects like baserunning. For example, I heard Tucker was talking to Ellsbury the other night about just little aspects of stealing bases and [what] you look for in the pitcher. That sort of thing can help me out as well. I know Ellsbury is a great base stealer and a great baserunner. I'm never going to be the type of guy that steals 40 or 50 bases in a year, but the more bases I can steal, the better. You try to add as many facets to your game as possible and put as many checkmarks, as many positive categories in a game as possible. Just little stuff like that, you try to take as much as possible.
David Murphy Q&A with Diehard Magazine
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