Down on the Farm: Murphy Accelerating Rehab Assignment At AAA Albuquerque

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Daniel Murphy, who suffered a fracture of the tip of his left index finger in the second game of the season, has made it clear he feels good and is ready to be activated to the big-league roster. Arriving in Albuquerque for a medical rehab assignment with the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate, Murphy played 16 innings and had 11 plate appearances in the last two games.

He was a combined 2-for-9 with two walks in the two games, but more importantly he played first base with no repercussions from the injured left finger. The Isotopes play a day game on Monday, are off Tuesday, and then open a five-game series at Salt Lake City on Wednesday.

It would seem likely that Murphy, who signed a two-year, $24 million free-agent contract in the off-season, will return to Coors Field by Tuesday, at the latest, with the idea of returning to the big-league active roster.

When Murphy suffered the injury in the second game of the season, the expectation was it would be early May, at the soonest, before Murphy would be able to return to the active roster. Murphy, however, has sped up the timetable.

“In most cases, when a guy is out for three or four weeks, they play five innings (in the first rehab game) and get a couple of at-bats, so this is a good thing,” said Rockies manager Bud Black.

The focal point of Murphy’s rehab is how the injured finger responds to the defensive demands of catching the throws to first base and making diving plays. He is playing with a splint on the finger.

Black, in a media session on Sunday, made it clear he welcomes Murphy back as soon as the veteran says he is ready.

“There’s a really solid at-bat of controlling the strike zone -- swinging at strikes, taking balls, there’s a history of not striking out a lot, putting the ball in play -- that has a tendency to carry over to the rest of the group,” Black said. “Getting to know him like I have over the last three months, the baseball conversations are great in the dugout and in the clubhouse. His presence as an active player will be seen. It’ll be subtle, might not be something that everyone will notice, but we will.”

In Sunday’s Games:

AAA Albuquerque (11-7) won 23-2 against Tacoma (Mariners). Roberto Ramos (.338) was 4-for-6 with two runs scored and eighth RBI, and Dom Nunez (.375) was 3-for-4 with four runs scored and six RBI. Rockies top-rated pitching prospect Peter Lambert (1-1, 4.82) allowed one run on five hits and a walk, striking out six in five innings.

AA Hartford (8-9) was off on Sunday, part of a league-wide off-day by the Eastern League for Easter Sunday.

High-A Lancaster (7-10) was off on Sunday, part of a league-wide off-day by the California League for Easter Sunday.

Low-A Asheville (7-9) was off on Sunday, part of a league-wide off day by the South Atlantic League for Easter Sunday.