4/7/2014 8:07 P.M. ET
After lengthy search, Murphy feels he's found swing
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- David Murphy felt like he had been searching for his swing for more than a year. Before he stepped up to the plate Sunday afternoon, the Indians outfielder felt like things were in order during his pregame work in the batting cage.
When that feeling carried over into Sunday's game against the Twins, Murphy felt a sense of relief.
"It's an answer to prayer, honestly," Murphy said.
Not to make too much of one game, but Murphy churned out four hits in Cleveland's 10-7 loss to Minnesota. The veteran outfielder knows it is a small sample size, but he also knows that the feeling he had in the batter's box was something that had been missing throughout Spring Training and during last season with the Rangers.
It marked the ninth game with at least four hits in Murphy's career, but his first since June 27, 2012. Before his four-hit outburst against the Twins, Murphy had been in an 2-for-14 spell to open the season.
"That felt great," Murphy said. "I think your goal as a hitter is to feel comfortable and feel great in the box. That feeling has kind of been few and far between for the last year for me. [Sunday] was obviously one day, but the feeling was there and hopefully we can build on that."
What impressed Indians manager Terry Francona was Murphy's use of the whole field. The right fielder had two hits to right field and another pair to left during the outburst. It was the kind of line-to-line showing that Cleveland envisioned when it inked Murphy to a two-year contract worth $12 million over the offseason.
"He hit the ball all over the field, from the right-field line to the left-field line," Francona said. "Obviously, he felt pretty good. That's the type of hitter he can be -- line to line. He can hit a lot of doubles and give us some punch that way."
The 32-year-old Murphy hit .304 with 15 home runs, 61 RBIs and an .859 OPS in 147 games for Texas in 2012, but then dropped off considerably a year ago. In 142 games for the Rangers last year, Murphy hit .220 with 13 homers, 45 RBIs and a .656 OPS. This past spring, when Murphy hit just .204 with 17 total bases in 18 Cactus League games, it was hard not to get discouraged.
"At times," Murphy said. "I was kind of in-between. On one hand, I knew it was Spring Training and I knew that I'm basically getting work in and trying to figure some things out. At the same time, that feeling just wasn't coming. That can be a difficult feeling. The good thing is I felt like my last week of spring was the best week."
Murphy has said numerous times that he put too much pressure on himself last season, partly due to the fact that the Rangers lost Josh Hamilton to free agency. He got away from his usual approach, tried to generate more power in his swing and it backfired. In Cleveland's versatile lineup, he no longer feels as much weight on his shoulders.
"I don't feel like I need to do too much," Murphy said. "And I think after last year, I learned my lesson also. Regardless of what type of lineup I was coming to, I think the lesson was to come in here and to be me."
Francona taking different approach to errors
CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona tries not to overreact when it comes to errors on the field. Before discussing an on-field mistake with one of his players, Francona will try to determine what the thinking was behind the play in question.
During the third inning of Sunday's 10-7 loss to the Twins, Indians catcher Yan Gomes made a costly throwing error that paved the way for three runs. After considering the situation, Francona understood what Gomes was trying to do, but hoped the catcher learned from the mistake.
"I have a hard time being critical when players are trying really hard to do the right thing," Francona said. "He came out of there hard. He wanted to get this inning over now. If he nonchalants it and comes out and sails one away, that's different. He was all over that ball."
With runners on the corners and one out, Minnesota's Chris Colabello chopped a pitch in front of home plate. Gomes sprung from his crouch, snared the roller and fired the ball up the middle toward second base. The idea was to turn a double play to escape the inning, but neither second baseman Jason Kipnis nor shortstop Mike Aviles could get to the bag in time.
The bal skipped into center field, allowing Brian Dozier to score easily from third base. The next two hitters, Trevor Plouffe and Jason Kubel, followed with an RBI single each to put Cleveland in a 5-2 hole.
"I tried to probably create a play that wasn't there," Gomes said Monday. "I tried too hard to turn it into a double play or something, and ended up throwing it away. You've got to maybe, right there, just take the out. ... The situation that was going on, I was trying to end the inning."
It was clearly a mistake by Gomes, but Francona did not feel the need to criticize the catcher under the circumstances.
"That's a hard play, if you go fast motion like it was for Gomer," Francona said. "Before I ever say something to a player, I try to think through it, because it's easy every time somebody throws a ball away, you could say something to somebody. But, if you put yourself in his shoes, Masty's having one of those innings, Gomer pounces on that ball great.
"He comes at it like he's got a rocket [underneath him], and then he fires the ball to second and our guys don't have a chance to even get there. ... It's one of those plays where you can understand. In a perfect world, does he look the guy back at third or go to third? Maybe. But I understand why he did it."
Indians add Minor League utility man in trade
CLEVELAND -- The Indians completed a Minor League trade on Monday afternoon, acquiring utility man Torston Boss from the Orioles in exchange for right-handed reliever Preston Guilmet. Boss has been assigned to Class A Advanced Carolina within Cleveland's farm system.
The trade was the second in as many days for the Indians, who have been working through decisions on the three players -- Colt Hynes, Frank Herrmann and Guilmet -- who were designated for assignment on March 30. The Indians removed the three pitchers from the 40-man roster in order to assemble the Opening Day roster
On Sunday, the Indians acquired right-hander Duke von Schamann from the Dodgers, and subsequently sent him to Double-A Akron, in exchange for Hynes. Cleveland still has a couple days to sort out the situation with Herrmann, who will not be able to decline an outright assignment to the Minors if he clears waivers.
The 23-year-old Boss -- an eighth-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Michigan State -- spent last season with Class A Delmarva. He hit .238 with 21 doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 45 RBIs in 106 games.
Guilmet appeared in four games for the Indians last year. He allowed eight runs and six hits over 5 1/3 innings while walking three and striking out one.
Quote to note
"It's hard to play from a deficit. But, if you give up three or four early, I'd much rather us continue to play than go home or mail it in. I think our guys do a really good job of collecting themselves and continuing to play. Sometimes, that's what it takes."
--Francona, on his team's knack for late-inning rallies
• Indians center fielder Michael Bourn (on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain) had his Minor League rehab game with Triple-A Columbus rained out Monday. Francona said Bourn will likely need between two to four rehab games before potentially rejoining Cleveland during its upcoming road trip through Chicago and Detroit.
"I had a nice talk with him," Francona said Monday. "I said, 'Hey man, just tell me how you're doing.' He understands. He's got a good feel. We know he wants to play. We also want him to play when he's able to play. I just kind of assured him that when he comes back, he doesn't have to play 10 in a row. But, we also want him to affect the game with his legs and be himself."
• Indians designated hitter and pinch hitter Jason Giambi (broken rib in his right side) is eligible to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on April 14. If Giambi continues to progress well, Francona said Cleveland will probably scheduled a couple of Minor League rehab games for the veteran with the idea of aligning with his activation date.
• Indians reliever Bryan Shaw has not allowed an earned run since surrendering two against the Tigers on Aug. 31 of last season. Following a streak of 15 1/3 innings without an earned run in Septmber, the right-hader has opened this season with no earned runs in his first 2 1/3 innings.
• The club announced on Monday that Court Berry-Tripp has been promoted to the role of assistant director of baseball information. Berry-Tripp joined Cleveland's public relations team before the 2012 season as the coordinator of baseball information.