SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Minor Leaguer Sean Murphy stepped foot in a big league clubhouse for the first time Monday morning, readying to see his name listed on the A's lineup as an extra pitcher. That's how he learned he was starting the game.
"I just thought maybe I'd get a chance to come out in relief," said Murphy, a 33rd-round Draft pick by the A's in 2010.
Instead, the 25-year-old received the start against a stacked Rangers lineup that included Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus, while the A's got Dan Straily work in a Minor League game. All Murphy did was throw 4 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing Texas just one hit with one walk and two strikeouts.
"Pretty impressive," said manager Bob Melvin. "You could tell there were a little nerves involved to begin with, and then he got comfortable and started using all his pitches. We certainly know who he is now. A true four-pitch mix, and it was impressive, and it's not like he got somebody's B lineup either."
"Definitely nerve-racking," said Murphy, who spent the bulk of 2013 in Double-A Midland. "That first inning I was so nervous, I couldn't control my fastball, so I had to resort to my changeup. You see a lineup like that, who wouldn't be a little nervous?
"My cutter was definitely working as a strike pitch. I got a lot of swing and misses with it, and my changeup started to come around at the end. Basically, I just went from there, and my fastball command came around later and I started to get in a groove."
Murphy's father, Ray, happened to be visiting, so he, too, made the drive over to Surprise to watch his son face some of the game's biggest names. And when told the game was slated to air on MLB Network at 11 p.m. PT on Monday, Murphy said he'll definitely be watching.
So will many of his friends and family members.
"I just looked at my phone," he said, "and I had about 15 texts.
"Today was a blast. I can't even put it into words. I'm just super pumped right now."