Washington Nationals: Daniel Murphy ready to give lineup huge boost

Still undergoing a rehab assignment, Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy finally appears to be on the cusp of being activated from the DL.

One of the Washington Nationals key missing players could be on the verge of making his return to the team. Daniel Murphy is still rehabbing with the Harrisburg Senators, but it’s reported they hope to activate him soon.

Talking to MASN on Tuesday, manager Davey Martinez said “I’m hoping it’ll be fairly soon” in regards to when they hope to activate Murphy. Though this isn’t a firm timetable, it’s a good indication they think he’s close to a return.

So far he’s 3 for 12 with a big three-run home run on Sunday against the Altoona Curve. And one of the more encouraging signs was going first to third smoothly.

The Senators have two more games against the Hartford Yard Goats on Wednesday and Thursday. Expect Murphy to play in both of those games as he continues to get into game shape. But after that, it’s not out of the realms of possibility we see him in the series against the Atlanta Braves.

A more realistic target, would be the start of the Nationals’ home series with the Tampa Bay Rays on June 5th. This would give them enough to time ensure that he’s at or close enough to 100 percent before activating him.

Also something to bear in mind, they have two series at American League parks, against the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays. So if they activate him soon, they can help rest him by letting him DH in those series.

When he does eventually return, he’ll undoubtedly provide a huge boost to this lineup that’s finally shifting into another gear. He could easily hit cleanup behind Anthony Rendon, and ahead of Mark Reynolds or Matt Adams, who have all been tearing the cover off the ball in May. And then the lineup begins to look like the dominant order we’ve seen the past few years.

It’s scary to think what a lineup, that’s fifth in the National League in runs, can do by adding a player of Murphy’s caliber. In the last two seasons he’s been to the All-Star game twice, won two Silver Sluggers and received MVP votes in both years, finishing second in 2016.

With Wilmer Difo‘s impressive performance so far this season, they can also afford to give the veteran a couple maintenance days off per week to begin with. After all, the goal is to have a healthy Murphy ready for October, rather than grinding it out in June.

The cavalry is finally arriving for the Washington Nationals, and Daniel Murphy is going to be a huge boost. With another All-Star caliber bat, they’ll hope to put the offensive inconsistencies firmly in the rear-view mirror.