The mid-afternoon shadows had just started to crawl across the infield at Yankee Stadium on Sunday as Mets manager Terry Collins stood behind a screen some 50 feet or 60 feet from home plate. He fired batting-practice fastballs to Daniel Murphy, who stopped every so often and turned to talk with hitting coach Kevin Long.
Murphy would step back in for more swings, then step back again and chat.
What Long and Murphy were discussing was how often the infielder was getting beat on pitches on the outer half of the strike zone. Advance scouts had apparently picked up on his struggles, and pitchers were attacking him in the same area. After going 0-for-5 on Saturday, Murphy's average had plummeted to .145, a shockingly low number for a player whose career has been built on offensive acumen.