I have to imagine I wasn't the only one who breathed a huge sigh of relief when everything came back negative on Brian McCann's foot yesterday. Even though he hasn't been what we hoped he would be offensively and his defense has slipped a bit this season, McCann has been swinging a better bat recently and is still a vital piece to the middle of the lineup. Losing him for an extended period of time would have shortened the batting order even further and undoubtedly hurt the team. Officially McCann is listed as day-to-day, and the smart money is on the Yankees giving him at least the next few games off. It wouldn't surprise me at all if they gave him the whole weekend series off and Joe started giving him more regular rest to keep the wear and tear on the foot down. If and when that happens, it will be another chance for John Ryan Murphy to show what he can do as a Major League regular. Murphy has had a slow start to his 2015 season, seemingly taking a small step back from the strong showing in 85 plate appearances last year. Murphy is hitting .200/.255/.311 this year in 52 PA, with a very high 30.8% K rate and an average 7.7% BB rate. His bat has really cooled down since 2013, and even in small sample sizes I think it's fair to question if he can hit enough to be an everyday catcher.
As much as he has struggled at the plate, Murphy has definitely shown that he can get the job done behind the plate. Even in limited work this season, Murphy continues to build and deserve a strong reputation for his defensive work. He's a good pitch framer, he's shown he can control the running game and throw guys out, and he's become very good at working with his pitching staff and calling games. Recently it's been Murphy who was behind the plate for many of the Yankees' best starting pitching performances, not McCann. That says something for a guy with barely over 400 innings of MLB catching experience.
Being strong and well-rounded defensively will take Murphy a long way as a Major Leaguer. If he can start to hit even a little bit he can start to carve out more regular playing time for himself this season and in seasons to come. He got his first few opportunities to play at this level thanks to injuries to catchers ahead of him and he turned that into the backup job this year. This latest injury to McCann, minor as it may seem, is another opportunity for Murphy to showcase himself as a Major League hitter. The more he produces, the more PT I think he's going to get.