3/23/2014 5:40 P.M. ET
Murphy returns, makes amazing defensive play
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Daniel Murphy may have spent the past week battling a minor leg injury, but it did not affect his acrobatic ability.
In his first game back from a right calf strain, Murphy made a sensational play against the Nationals on Sunday, robbing Bryce Harper of an infield hit.
With one out in the sixth, Harper laid down a bunt to the right side of the infield, where Murphy charged and barehanded the ball. Lacking enough time to set himself and throw to first, Murphy -- like a tennis player trying for a miracle point at the baseline -- hopped off the ground and fired the ball between his legs, beating Harper with the throw by a fraction of a second.
"Wo-o-ow," Harper mouthed, as Murphy jumped up and down with a grin on his face.
"It was a really good bunt by Bryce," Murphy said, noting that he had only previously attempted such a play while clowning around in practice. "I just felt like it was the only way I could get it over to first from the angle I was going to have to take. I could probably do it another 15 times, and throw all 15 of them in the fourth row of the stands."
As for Murphy's leg, the second baseman said he came away from his six defensive innings and three plate appearances feeling "healthy."
"That's the easiest way to describe it," Murphy said. "I feel healthy at the end of the game right now."
Mets release Farnsworth, could re-sign him
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- After informing reliever Kyle Farnsworth that he did not pitch well enough this spring to make the Opening Day roster, the Mets on Sunday granted him his release with the intention of possibly re-signing him.
Farnsworth, 37, posted a 5.63 ERA in eight Grapefruit League innings, striking out four and walking four. Opposing batters hit .313 off Farnsworth, who owns 54 career saves with the Cubs, Tigers, Braves, Yankees, Royals, Rays and Pirates. The Mets originally signed him on an unguaranteed Minor League deal.
General manager Sandy Alderson said the Mets released Farnsworth with the intention of re-signing him, but are unsure if he will draw any interest from other teams. Because Farnsworth is now technically a free agent, he can sign elsewhere without penalty. The Mets released him only because under the terms of his contract, they would have needed to add him to their 40-man roster or pay him a $100,000 retention bonus to keep him in camp.
Even if he does re-sign, Farnsworth is extremely unlikely to make the Mets' Opening Day roster; now that he is out of the picture, the team is all but certain to carry Jose Valverde in the bullpen as a veteran right-handed reliever with ninth-inning experience. Bobby Parnell will serve as the Mets' regular closer, with Valverde, Jeurys Familia and Vic Black all vying for late-inning roles. The Mets will also carry Carlos Torres and Scott Rice, and are likely to round out their bullpen with veteran left-hander John Lannan.
Though the Mets removed first baseman Ike Davis from their split-squad game in Orlando after four innings, prompting speculation of an injury or trade, Alderson said that it was nothing more than business as usual. "I think he was just beat," Alderson said of Davis, who was playing in his fourth consecutive game. "I think there was just a little bit of fatigue."