Murphy Prepares To Man Second Base For Mets





NEW YORK—The Mets told Daniel Murphy this offseason that he will be the club's everyday second baseman in 2012. His years of shuffling around the field appear to be over.

However, each of Murphy's last two seasons ended abruptly with torn ligaments in each knee suffered in collisions at second base.

The Mets believe in the 26-year-old Murphy's work ethic, such that they think time to focus on one position will allow him to improve enough to at least ensure his safety and keep his productive bat in the lineup.

"I think any time you're able to work on one position, that's great," Murphy said, "and you're going to be more comfortable there. But that's not a luxury you always get to have.

"Like I say every spring training, I try to help this team win ballgames, (whether) that happens to be at first, second or third (base). Any player would like to stay at one position, but at the end of the day it's what's best for the team."

Murphy batted .320/.362/.448 in 391 at-bats last season, so plugging in that production at second base clearly would bolster the Mets' offense. But can his knees hold up?

Murphy returned last season with his right knee in a bulky brace. Now, he has rehabilitated a surgically-repaired left knee and might need to wear a brace on that knee, too.

"Still got to pray about that one," Murphy said. "I'm not sure. I would prefer to stay away from two (braces)."

Murphy believes that the injuries won't hamper him in 2012.

"To tell you the truth, I had a more severe injury on the (medial collateral ligament) on the right knee," Murphy said. "I felt like I was moving around like a maniac last year."

Murphy kept a positive attitude following his Aug. 7 injury last year. "I know how this story ends, and I'm going to be fine," he said.

Murphy spent the majority of his time in the minors playing third base, but the presence of David Wright in Queens blocked off that route. He experimented with playing left field in 2008 and 2009, but with often disastrous results.

He seemed to settle in a first base in 2009, but rookie Ike Davis stepped into the void the following season when Murphy injured his knee.

METAMORPHOSES

• The Mets claimed righthander Jeremy Hefner on waivers from the Pirates, who had claimed him from the Padres about a month earlier. A durable strike-thrower, he made 28 starts for Triple-A Tucson last season, going 9-7, 4.98 with 120 strikeouts in 157 innings.

• New York signed catcher Lucas May to a minor league deal to provide organizational depth. He batted .238/.330/.427 in 248 at-bats in two Triple-A stops in 2011.