The list of would-be Rockies catchers expected to be a fantasy stud is dotted with names like Todd Greene, J.D. Closser, Ben Petrick, Wilin Rosario, Yorvit Torrealba, Miguel Olivo and Charles Johnson. Tom Murphy has his work cut out for him to keep his name from being added. He posted an impressive 1.006 OPS in September of 2016, heightening expectations for 2017. Hidden in that impressive month was a not-so-impressive 39 percent strikeout rate. In the spring, Murphy broke his arm, getting hit by an Anthony Rizzo swing while attempting to thwart a steal attempt. When he finally returned, Murphy struggled with Triple-A Albuquerque, fanning at a 36 percent clip with a middling .736 OPS. He was promoted when rosters expanded and played sparingly down the stretch, recording a terrible .198 OPS in 26 plate appearances. Murphy is still young, but Colorado brought back Chris Iannetta, so Murphy is going to have to have a big spring to carve out a significant role. Let someone else draft the uniform.
Murphy went hitless in four at-bats following his September callup. The catching prospect saw little playing time down the stretch with the Rockies in the thick of the playoff race -- a disappointing finish to a disappointing season. Expected by many to move into the starting catcher role at some point in 2017, he wound up getting hurt during spring training and struggling at the plate in the minors. Heading into 2018, Murphy still looks like a candidate to assume full-time catching duties, but he'll need to show that this past season was simply a fluke and not a sign of things to come.
Murphy was recalled by the Rockies on Friday. Murphy joins the wave of September call-ups for Colorado, and returns to the team ahead of this weekend's series with the Diamondbacks. During eight appearances with the Rockies this season, Murphy went 1-for-20 at the plate. He figures to slide in as the third catcher on the depth chart behind Jonathan Lucroy and Tony Wolters.
Murphy was sent down to Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. Murphy had been struggling ever since returning from the DL on June 15, going just 1-for-20 with two walks and seven strikeouts in eight games. He will head down to Albuquerque to clear his head and look to recapture the hitting form that he displayed in New Mexico's largest city during the 2016 season. In a corresponding move, the team recalled catcher Ryan Hanigan from Triple-A.
Murphy (forearm) was activated from the disabled list and is starting at catcher Thursday against the Giants, Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post reports. While it was originally reported that Murphy would return sometime next week, it appears the Rockies were pleased enough with his rehab assignment at Triple-A Albuquerque to bring him back early. The 26-year-old went 12-for-24 with seven RBI over his last five rehab games, including a 3-for-5 effort with five RBI in his most recent outing. He'll take the place of Ryan Hanigan on the active roster, while Murphy will likely enter a timeshare with Tony Wolters behind the dish for the time being.
Manager Bud Black said that Murphy (forearm) could return in "a week to 10 days," Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post reports. Murphy has been tearing it up in the minors during his rehab assignment, batting .375 in 26 plate appearances at Triple-A Albuquerque. Although the catching prospect is nearing a return to action, the Rockies have a tough decision on their hands once he's activated. Ryan Hanigan has been performing well at the plate and has been heralded for his ability to manage Colorado's young pitching staff, so it's not a sure thing that Murphy would knock him off the big-league roster upon his return. Murphy does have a minor-league option, but Black hinted that Murphy will get his fair shake in the big leagues at some point this season. "Murphy was going to play a lot [out of spring training]," he said. "He showed some power with his bat and we liked how he caught games last year." If Murphy does receive a spot with the Rockies immediately, he would likely enter a timeshare behind the plate with incumbent backstop Tony Wolters and knock Ryan Hanigan off the roster. The Rockies must make a decision on this front by June 23, which is the latest date Murphy can return from the disabled list.