Buzz: David Murphy enters batting race at No. 3

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – David Murphy woke up Monday morning with 412 plate appearances, which was the exact number he needed to qualify for league batting average leader status. All Murphy needs now is a hot September and regular playing time to put himself in the mix for an American League batting title.

Murphy started the Kansas City series with a .322 batting average, which trailed only Mike Trout of the Angels (.333) and Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers (.331).

Murphy, however, made it clear he is focused on team accomplishments rather than individual accomplishments. A batting title would be nice, but a World Series title would be nicer.

“Where I’m hitting in the lineup, the most important thing for me to do is drive in runs,” Murphy said.

The left-handed-hitting Murphy climbed into contention for a batting title largely because of his ability to hit lefties. His .393 batting average against lefties is the highest in the AL for a left-handed hitter.

“To focus on that ( a batting title) and not focus on the team would be pretty selfish,” Murphy said. “It would take away from what each guy in here brings to the table. There’s no guarantee that because I qualify on Sept. 3 that I’m going to qualify after game 162. But it’s not like it really matters."

Other notes:

* With left-hander Bruce Chen on the mound and with Ian Kinsler feeling good, manager Ron Washington didn’t start Jurickson Profar in the Kansas City opener. But Washington was quick to say that the switch-hitting Profar will get his opportunities and he’s anxious to see what Profar will do hitting right-handed. Profar homered in his first major league at-bat on Sunday while hitting left-handed.

* Washington said he’s not concerned at this point about the recovery progress of catcher Mike Napoli, who went on the disabled list Aug. 11 with a left quadriceps strain. Washington said that if Napoli doesn’t have time for a lot of at-bats on a rehab assignment, he’l l just have to rely on his major league experience upon his return.

* Derek Holland’s recent stretch of stout pitching has Washington encouraged. Washington noted that Holland did his best work down the stretch last season.