NEW YORK -- Daniel Murphy returned from paternity leave Thursday against the Nationals, amidst continued support from a Mets community that happily excused his absence.
"I got a couple of text messages about it, so I'm not going to sit here and lie and say I didn't hear about it," Murphy said of the criticism he received on local radio shows. "But that's the awesome part about being blessed, about being a parent, is you get that choice. My wife and I discussed it, and we felt the best thing for our family was for me to try to stay for an extra day -- that being Wednesday -- due to the fact that she can't travel for two weeks."
Murphy missed two games to be with his wife as she gave birth to the couple's first child, son Noah -- named after the biblical figure, Murphy clarified with a laugh, not the Mets prospect. Manager Terry Collins also laughed when first asked about the criticism of his second baseman earlier this week.
"If you're accusing Dan Murphy of not wanting to play, this guy played 161 games last year, wore himself out, played through all sorts of discomfort," Collins said. "The man had his first child. He's allowed to be there. The rules state that he can be there, so he went.
"When you start attacking Dan Murphy's credibility, you need to look in the mirror a bit. You're attacking a guy's integrity, and Dan Murphy is one of the best baseball players in that locker room. He is an old-school player. It's his first child. When it happens, we made arrangements that by all means … you go."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.