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Patrick Murphy’s Long Road Back To Baseball

Now minus a rib and a nerve, Blue Jays' Patrick Murphy is back on the mound in Lansing

Patrick Murphy’s Long Road Back To Baseball

May 31, 2016

Patrick Murphy

RHP Patrick Murphy is looking to bounce back from multiple surgeries in 2016. (Kyle Castle)

The 2013 MLB Amateur Draft saw the Toronto Blue Jays draft quality talent including notable prospects such as RHP Conner Greene and 1B/DH Rowdy Tellez and also players currently on Major League rosters like Matt Boyd (now with the Detroit Tigers), Kendall Graveman (Oakland Athletics) and Chad Girodo. Among those drafted by the Blue Jays that year was also third round pick RHP Patrick Murphy out of Hamilton HS in Chandler, AZ.

Murphy was particularly notable at the time, not only for third round slot, but for the fact that he was a high school pitcher that missed his senior year due to Tommy John surgery.

“My draft experience was tough. I was just coming off surgery and didn’t know what to expect,” stated Murphy. “I had Tommy John my senior year of high school and I had no idea when I was going to go, so I basically just relaxed and I was lucky enough that the Blue Jays took a chance on me.”

This prospect was fortunate as the Blue Jays have plenty of experience with rehabilitating players successfully with this infamous injury and decided to target the young righty’s high upside. No doubt this aided Murphy’s decision to sign.

“It wasn’t too bad picking between signing and going to college,” states Murphy. “I was pretty set on signing after coming off surgery. I wanted to work with a professional staff to rehab, get better, and begin my development.”

However, the road back to the mound has not been smooth; after having a nerve removed from his elbow and a rib, too, due to thoracic outlet syndrome, Murphy is hoping 2016 is the year he returns to full health. Now medically cleared for normal baseball activities, Murphy has been assigned to the Lansing Lugnuts and is eager to show the organization what his 93 mph fastball and curve can do.

“I love Lansing,” said Murphy. “It’s great to finally be out of Florida. I’ve been through a lot so it’s great to be able to get out of extended and come here.”

Only logging 4 innings prior to this season, it shows the kind of faith that the Blue Jays have in this talented prospect. Bumping up a relatively untested player might seem like a risk to many fans, but Murphy has done nothing to show he wasn’t ready for the challenge that was placed in front of him this season.

Making the most of his low-A experience, Murphy has only allowed three earned runs and opposing hitters are only managing a .235 average against the prospect in his 9 innings of work.

The only drawback to Murphy’s four games with the Lugnuts is that he’s walked 10 batters so far in 2016. Although he would like to improve in this area in the upcoming weeks, it’s more important for the righty to make up for lost time this season and he’s on his way to doing just that in Lansing.

Hoping Murphy can achieve that all season, Lansing Lugnuts pitching coach Jeff Ware discussed what he hopes to see from the promising righty for the conclusion of the season. “I’m just looking for Patrick to pound the strike zone,” stated Ware. “Patrick has a great arm. He has a great curveball. His changeup is a work in progress, but he’s had some success with it. We just want to get his feet wet. He hasn’t thrown many innings over the last couple years. We want to get him under the lights and get him to face some hitters other than the ones he faced in extended spring training. Just getting Patrick innings will really help him a lot.”

Finding success on the mound with his pitch repertoire, Murphy features four pitches that he utilizes every outing. Currently using a fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup mix, the 20-year old describes his approach on the mound as always changing depending on who’s at the plate.

“I use all of my pitches every outing,” stated Murphy. “It really depends on the hitter and the situation on what I’m going to throw at that moment. There are a lot of variables you need to consider with every hitter.”

Still adjusting to facing professional hitters on a nightly basis, Murphy discusses what it’s like playing against some of the best players in the world.

“In professional baseball every hitter is the best hitter you’ve ever faced,” explained Murphy. “You need to go to the mound with that mindset every night as you’re facing some of the best talent you’ve seen. You can’t lose focus out there.”

Obviously, had Murphy not had to bear this long road of recovery, he would be further along in his professional journey. But despite the obstacles he’s faced over the last couple of seasons, Murphy has only one goal for his 2016 campaign.

“I’m just looking for a healthy season,” declared Murphy. “I’ve had three surgeries over the last four years. I’ve spent a lot of time in Florida. This is my first time getting out of Florida and my first chance on a full season team so I just want to stay healthy all season.”

After all that Patrick Murphy has been through since turning professional he deserves to find consistency with his health and baseball for years to come.

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Brian has covered professional baseball for eight seasons for numerous media outlets.
Brian Crawford