Murphy homers on rehab stint at Triple-A

Murphy homers on rehab stint at Triple-A

CLEVELAND -- One swing will not grant David Murphy a clean bill of health, but the veteran outfielder has taken an impressive step toward returning to the Indians.

During Wednesday's 9-4 International League semifinals win for Triple-A Columbus, Murphy launched a home run and collected two RBIs in three at-bats against Durham. Currently on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique injury, Murphy was scheduled to continue his Minor League rehab assignment with Columbus on Thursday night.

"Murph checked in with the training staff and me," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He said he was pretty good. He hadn't played in a month and he had three at-bats, and had a home run. He'll play again tonight and then we'll check back in with him again."

The 32-year-old Murphy injured his side on a swing against the Yankees on Aug. 9 and was placed on the disabled list the following day. It was projected at the time that Murphy would most likely need at least a month of recovery time, and the right fielder appears to be right on target with his current comeback.

Murphy was slated to play seven innings on Thursday, but Columbus and Double-A Akron are scheduled to be on the road for their respective playoff series on Friday. That could complicate Murphy's rehab schedule, but Francona noted earlier this week that -- thanks to September's expanded roster -- the outfielder might be cleared for activation before being ready to handle a full-time workload.

"Murph's so easy [to deal with]," Francona said. "We talked to him before he went out. We'll just continue to visit with him and see what to do."

Through 109 games this year, Murphy has hit .262 with seven home runs and 55 RBIs in his first season with the Tribe.

Quote to note

"I think you try to have an atmosphere where the game's the game. Despite the relevance of the game, you can't play it really different. You can't try to throw harder and you can't try to make plays that aren't there, or you get yourself in trouble. You try to remind guys of that."
-- Francona, on having young players contributing during a postseason race

Smoke signals

• Indians outfielder Chris Dickerson was scratched from the starting lineup on Thursday due to tightness in his lower back. Rookie outfielder Tyler Holt replaced Dickerson as Cleveland's starting right fielder and No. 9 hitter. Dickerson was batting .182 (4-for-22) in his past 10 games entering Thursday.

• When left-hander T.J. House takes the mound for the Tribe on Friday, he and fellow rookie starter Trevor Bauer will each have at least 15 starts this season. The last time Cleveland had at least two rookie pitches log 15 or more starts in a season was 2003, when Jason Davis, Ricardo Rodriguez and Billy Traber achieved the feat for the club.

• With his performance on Wednesday, right-hander Danny Salazar became the first Indians pitcher to toss a shutout against the Tigers since June 1, 1998 (Jaret Wright). The last Cleveland pitcher to spin a shutout against Detroit in Cleveland was Orel Hershiser (June 5, 1995).

• First baseman Bobby Bradley (selected in the third round of the First-Year Player Draft this past June) has been named the Arizona League Most Valuable Player for this season. In 39 games for the AZL Indians, Bradley hit .361 with eight home runs, 25 extra-base hits, 50 RBIs and a 1.078 OPS.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.