It was a sight we hadn’t seen in a while. Sean Murphy was crouching behind the plate as the starting catcher for the A's on Thursday against the San Diego Padres.
Murphy was late to spring training after undergoing two surgeries when sustaining a collapsed lung during the offseason, but he felt great to be back.
“It’s nice to be out there playing,” Murphy said Thursday. “Rehabbing’s no fun, going through that process is just not a good time, so being able to play baseball is always good.”
“At a certain point, I just stop thinking about it,” Murphy said on rehabbing his injury. “It feels back to normal, so, maybe a fastball off the ribs is a little worrying, but other than that, I’m totally fine.”
Murphy admitted he was a little late getting to some of the balls as he’s been practicing with just the machine. It’s hard to mimic what you do in an actual game situation. He said he got exposed to it early enough to where he would be ready for the regular season.
“Still shooting for Opening Day,” he added. “I felt really good -- got five innings, we’ll ramp it up as we go.”
Murphy added he was comfortable where his hitting was despite not having a ton of production numbers-wise.
“I’m pretty happy with them. I think I saw the ball all right, I swung at the balls I wanted to swing at and took some of the balls that were off,” he said. “The way I saw it, I was pretty happy with it.”
Murphy was fourth in AL Rookie of the Year voting last season after slashing .233/.364/.457 and an .821 OPS with seven home runs and 14 RBI in 43 games.
Murphy wants to be able to catch every game for the rest of spring training, but it’s possible the team takes it easy with him. Jed Lowrie and Matt Chapman, both are coming off of offseason surgeries, were eased into spring training games as the designated hitter, so that’s a possibility for Murphy as well.