MIAMI -- Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy on Wednesday didn't start for the fourth consecutive game because of a left leg injury. Manager Dusty Baker said Murphy is not responding to treatment, and while Baker would not elaborate on the precise nature of the injury, he acknowledged he is concerned as the team nears the National League East title.
Murphy hurt the leg in the third inning on Saturday afternoon, when he tied Denard Span's club record for the most hits in a season (184). After sliding into second base for a double, Murphy took a long time to get up, and Baker and head athletic trainer Paul Lessard came to his aid, but Murphy stayed in the game. He made a pinch-hit appearance in each of the last two games.
"I'm sure the world would like to know [what's wrong with Murphy]," Baker said on Wednesday. "Our trainers are still working on him. They are trying to get to the bottom of it. When you are hurt this late in the season, you don't have a bunch of time to come back. We have some hands working on him."
Murphy is having a career year, hitting .347 with 25 home runs and 104 RBIs.
"Daniel has been carrying us most of the season, so now it's time for some of the other guys to step up during Daniel's absence and not depend on Daniel being here," Baker said.
Left-hander Sammy Solis (left shoulder inflammation) threw 25 pitches during a bullpen session and didn't have any problems. As a southpaw who can go more than one inning, he could be an important piece to the bullpen puzzle during the postseason.
"It's been a long time, longer than I anticipated," said Solis, who was placed on the disabled list Aug. 17. "But just to be back knowing that I'm that much closer to a game is encouraging."
Solis is expected to have two more bullpen sessions, then face live hitters before getting back in a game.
Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.