Surgery on a torn left meniscus put Sean Murphy on the injured list for all of May and June, and he spent a lot of that time at the Athletics' complex in Mesa, Arizona. There was only so much rehab work to do while his knee was on the mend,
Surgery on a torn left meniscus put Sean Murphy on the injured list for all of May and June, and he spent a lot of that time at the Athletics' complex in Mesa, Arizona. There was only so much rehab work to do while his knee was on the mend, so he ran his mouth instead.
Kevin Kouzmanoff, a former big leaguer who works as a hitting coach for Oakland, often talked shop with Murphy. Approach, Murphy said, was their usual topic. Always be in a position to be aggressive. Play with a "hit everything mentality" but be ready to "spit" on a pitch that isn't yours.
"The results," Murphy said Friday, "kind of speak for themselves tonight."
One night after going deep in his first game back, the third-ranked A's prospect hit three homers as Triple-A Las Vegas set a Pacific Coast League record en route to a 20-11 victory over El Paso at Southwest University Park.
Murphy's first dinger was a fourth-inning solo shot to left field against right-hander Emmanuel Ramirez. His second, a three-run jack off southpaw Brad Wieck in the seventh, carried a projected 440 feet and struck the scoreboard in left-center.
For his final big fly, the 24-year-old took righty Trevor Megill deep to right-center for two more runs in the eighth.
Gameday box score
Murphy, ranked as MLB.com's No. 46 overall prospect, hit .324 with an .861 OPS in 19 games before his injury, both of which would be career highs for a season. He began a rehab assignment in the Rookie-level Arizona League on July 13 and logged four hits in seven games before returning to the Aviators.
His swings felt all right during the comeback, but there were times where he should have "pulled the trigger" and didn't. That was not an issue Friday -- two of Murphy's homers were on the first pitch of the at-bat. The other was on the fourth but came on his only hack.
"It feels good to get a couple swings on the ball and hit some balls hard," he said. "It helps me get mentally back into it."
The trifecta -- the 32nd in the Minor Leagues and 14th in the PCL this year -- was Las Vegas' third of the season. Seth Brownpulled off the feat on April 13 and Mark Paytonhomered thrice on July 12.
Murphy, however, wasn't alone in the slugfest. Fourth-ranked A's prospect Jorge Mateo added two roundtrippers along with Payton and Dustin Fowler. The Aviators -- who trailed, 7-1, after two frames and 11-3 after three -- totaled 11 homers, setting a record for both the 37-year-old franchise and the PCL. The previous league record of 10 was established by Phoenix on July 6, 1974 and tied by Reno on May 20, when Yasmany Tomásteed off four times on his own.
"We struggled in the first few innings of the game," said Murphy, who drove in a career-high six runs. "It shows some resiliency from the guys that we just kept battling. Today, we just kept hitting the ball out of the park."
Brown and Nick Martini accounted for Las Vegas' other long balls. Mateo matched personal bests with four hits and four runs scored, while Fowler went 4-for-6 and scored three times.
Josh Naylor was 4-for-5 with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored for El Paso, which got a three-run homer from Aderlin Rodriguez.
Joe Bloss is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jtbloss.