Murphy flies high in return to Las Vegas

Athletics No. 3 prospect goes yard twice, drives in six runs

Sean Murphy has homered in his past five Pacific Coast League contests, dating back to the end of July. (Las Vegas Aviators)

By Tyler Maun / | August 22, 2019 2:34 AM

Sean Murphy was back at Las Vegas Ballpark on Wednesday night and made it feel like he'd never left.

Baseball's No. 44 overall prospect hammered two homers, drove in six runs and added a walk in his first game back at the Triple-A level to help lead Las Vegas to an 18-4 drubbing of Reno.

Video: Las vegas' Murphy homers again

Murphy announced his return to the Pacific Coast League with authority. After walking in his first trip to the plate in the second inning and grounding out to short in the third, the backstop mashed a three-run homer to left-center in the fifth off righty Matt Koch.

Gameday box score

Following a groundout to third in the seventh, Murphy came up again with two on against a position player -- third baseman Wyatt Mathisen -- and belted his ninth Triple-A long ball out to left-center.

Murphy's latest return to the Aviators came after the catcher aggravated a left knee injury originally suffered in May and made three rehab appearances in the Rookie-level Arizona League. That was Murphy's second trip to Arizona to try to get the knee right, which he feels he was able to do this time.

"At the end of the day, I've done all of the rehab," he told the Minor League Baseball podcast on Wednesday. "I've done everything I need to do. Everything looks good. The doctors say I look good, so I'm going to trust and go with them. I feel ready to play, so I'm going to get out there and play."

Even though the 24-year-old has only been in 24 Triple-A games this year, Oakland's No. 3 prospect remains in the midst of an impressive run at the level.

Wednesday's showing marked the fifth straight PCL game in which the Wright State product left the yard, including four torrid games the last time he returned from injury.

"It was a confidence booster," he said on the podcast of that late July stint. "You never know when you come back from a layoff what you're going to do, and to just go out there and swing the bat really well was a big confidence booster. It just kind of lets you know that, hey, you've still got it. It's still there. If you come back and you're shaky or you're not swinging it well, then you kind of start to question all the things you did in the rehab and stuff. It's nice to get a few knocks right away when you're coming back."

2019 MiLB include

Murphy has amassed eight long balls and 19 RBIs over his past five Aviators games. He's compiled a slash line of .366/.441/.742 with 28 RBIs on the circuit this season.

"I was doing some vision drills every day during rehab, reacting to some tennis balls and stuff like that," he told the podcast. "I think that probably helped me, so I continued to do that once I got back down for my second rehab stint. It's just making sure your eyes are adjusted to the speed of the game, staying in there and keeping the brain and the eyes sharp."

Las Vegas raked in 18 runs on 16 hits. Murphy was one of six Aviators to homer. Leadoff man Nick Martini added a two-run homer and two doubles.

Tyler Maun is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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