- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Daniel Murphy running is cause for excitement around the Washington Nationals.

Murphy mimicked his swing without a bat, then ran to first base on Wednesday following the Nationals’ workout. Such a mundane action could be a large influence on the National League Division Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington.

Murphy is recovering from a strained buttock. He’s injured his knee in the past and had a hamstring ailment, but never a muscular strain this high up his leg. He has just three in-game at-bats since Sept. 17. If he plays in Game 1 on Friday, Murphy will face Clayton Kershaw, largely viewed as the best pitcher in baseball.

“It was a good day [Wednesday],” Murphy said. “I’ll come out and get some more work [Thursday] and we’ll see where we’re at Friday.”

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said running was the key concern for Murphy. Murphy’s work Wednesday was the most running he had done since first being injured. Murphy has consistently hit and occasionally worked in the field. Despite the test runs, he knows he can’t fully create an in-game playoff situation.

“There’s things that I’m not going to be able to replicate until the bell rings,” Murphy said. “Some of this stuff I won’t find out until I’m in game action.”

Murphy hit .347 in the regular season, was the MVP of last season’s National League Championship Series and is a career .308 hitter against Kershaw.

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