September 3rd, 2011
It was exactly a year ago today that Tim Murphy pitched two innings of relief to earn his first career Double-A save in a 2-1 win over Corpus Christi at Whataburger Field for the ‘Riders. Unfortunately for Murphy, in the ninth inning he began to feel pain in his left elbow and by the end of the frame, his fastballs were floating home in the upper 70s.
After an MRI, it was apparent that the injury was significant and that the left-hander needed Tommy John surgery. This is a tough blow no matter the pitcher, but it was especially poor news for Murphy who had been selected to pitch in the Arizona Fall League immediately after the season. Furthermore, in his first season as a reliever, Tim was putting up better numbers in Double-A than he did in High-A Bakersfield (BAK: 19-G, 36.0-IP, 3.25-ERA, 24-BB, 23-K; FRI: 17-G, 22.2-IP, 1.59-ERA, 4-BB, 23-K).
Fabio Castillo replaced him the AFL as Murphy began the 18-month road to recovery from surgery.
All of that takes us the present day. When I got on the team bus in Corpus Christi Tuesday night following the ‘Riders loss to the Hooks, who else was sitting behind my seat then Murph! Needless to say I wasn’t expecting to see him this season at all, let alone all the way down in South Texas.
I got to chatting with him and he told me about his rehab work and how he flew to Corpus to work with Pitching Coach Jeff Andrews because the Rangers’ training complex in Surprise was closing down for a short while this time of year.
A couple of days later I had a chance to formally sit down with Tim on the pre-game show to talk about how his year has been and what his rehab is like. Murph appears to be in a great mental state and has handled the injury and setback as best as someone possibly can.
Will be nice to hopefully see Murph back in a ‘Riders uniform in 2012.