February 29, 2016

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) John Ryan Murphy was surprised in November when the New York Yankees traded him to the Minnesota Twins for center fielder Aaron Hicks.

''Once I removed my emotions and realized it was a really good thing for my career, I got excited, and the excitement just kept building,'' Murphy said.

A second-round pick from Bradenton, Florida, in the 2009 amateur draft, Murphy made his major league debut in 2013 and was building a solid reputation with his teammates and throughout baseball. Murphy, who will be 24 in May, is learning as much as he can about his new team and working with catcher Kurt Suzuki and pitching coach Neil Allen.

''I got them to send me a bunch of video,'' Murphy said. ''I kind of started familiarizing myself with the pitchers via video, a lot of that is done this month and talking to Kurt has a lot to do with it.''

Murphy, who caught Mariano Rivera's final appearance, hit .277 in 67 games last season, making 43 starts behind the plate. The Twins are getting to know him.

''It has gone well as far as at least my early impressions of professionalism, knowledge, desire to learn, desire to fit in, unassuming about what his role may be,'' manager Paul Molitor said. ''He's out here trying to earn a new club's respect, whether it's players or staff.''

Suzuki was an All-Star selection in 2014. He slumped last season, batting .240 with just a .610 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, so Murphy could push him for playing time.

''Conversations about the game have been easy in terms of there's no hesitation to worry about depth with him,'' Molitor said. ''He comprehends things from a catching standpoint, offensive standpoint. So it's been really nice to get to know him so far. He's going to be one of those guys that I think it's going to be pretty seamless as far as transitioning to a new club. He's coming from an organization where things are, it's just different.''

NOTES: RHP Phil Hughes is to start the Twins' exhibition opener on Wednesday against the Red Sox and RHP Trevor May is to follow. RHPs Tyler Duffey and Ricky Nolasco are slated to pitch Thursday, LHP Tommy Milone on Friday and RHPs Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios on Saturday. RHP Kyle Gibson goes Sunday. . Molitor has banned hoverboards, which became popular for his players last season, from the clubhouse. ''Just eliminate the risk,'' he said.

You May Like