Murphy struggling through prolonged slump

Murphy struggling through prolonged slump

NEW YORK -- For the third time in the Mets' last four games, Daniel Murphy started the night on the bench.

On Friday, the decision had nothing to do with Murphy's slump, but rather came as part of manager Terry Collins' effort to start as many right-handed hitters as possible against Yankees starter Andy Pettitte.

But Friday is only one day.

Murphy's immense struggles at the plate -- he has only two hits in his last 21 at-bats -- have forced Collins to bench him in search of offensive production. Jordany Valdespin got two starts at second base earlier this week, and Justin Turner got the nod on Friday.

"I want to win games now," Collins said, "but I also want to get Daniel Murphy out of it. He's been a big piece of this whole thing. We showed up the first day of Spring Training knowing that his bat's got to be in the lineup."

Murphy is hitting a respectable .270 on the season with 28 RBIs, despite still vying for his first home run.

Collins said he plans to start Murphy on Saturday, but he admitted that the slump needs to end soon. Valdespin made his case with five combined hits in three starts against Baltimore -- two of which came at second base. Turner, now back from injury, has also showcased his offensive abilities for the Mets, though mainly last season.

"He's struggling and we're aware of that, but the only way to get him out of it is to make sure he gets at-bats," Collins said of his decision to start Murphy on Saturday. "He's not going to get out of it just hitting in the cage all day long. So we've got to get him some game time and some at-bats, and hopefully, he breaks out soon."