NEW YORK -- Throughout this summer, whenever Daniel Murphy hit one of his rough patches at the plate, Mets manager Terry Collins fell back on a familiar line of thinking. At the end of the year, Collins liked to say, he would look up to see Murphy's typical stat line flashing across the scoreboard.
At times, a return to those numbers seemed unlikely. Even Murphy admits that. But with 16 games to go, after the second baseman went 1-for-4 in Friday's 4-3 win over the Marlins, Murphy is batting .281 with a .315 on-base percentage and a .404 slugging mark. His fourth-inning single gave him a career-high 167 hits on the year, one more than last season in 11 fewer games.
Last season, Murphy hit .291, reached base at a .332 clip and slugged .405. Though Murphy's counting stats are higher this year across the board, including 10 home runs, a career-high 68 RBIs and 83 runs, his walk rate is at an all-time low.
"I need to walk more, there's no doubt about that," Murphy said. "I want to get on base as much as the next guy, but I also tend to like to swing the bat. I just need to be more disciplined."
The question is whether Murphy has done enough to warrant what is sure to be a significant arbitration raise over the $2.9 million he made this season. Though Murphy has undoubtedly improved defensively at second base over the past few years, the Mets know he will never be an elite glove man. So it is critical he remains productive at the plate.
Collins, for his part, called Murphy his team's "backbone," with David Wright on the disabled list. With virtually no protection around him in the lineup, Murphy has maintained a consistent stat line in Wright's absence: .291/.321/.404 in 37 games entering Friday.
Aside from that, Collins noted, much of Murphy's value stems from his durability -- the same quality that will undoubtedly prompt the Mets slot him in at second base next season. Perhaps not an ideal solution at that position -- Wilmer Flores is the most intriguing in-house alternative -- Murphy nonetheless represents stability on a roster that is very much in flux.
"You always want to be a part of the solution going forward," Murphy said. "If you're around here for the lean times, you want to be around here when times get good."
Wright runs bases, still wants to play this season
NEW YORK -- David Wright ran the bases at Citi Field again on Friday as he continues to work his way back into the Mets' lineup.
Mets manager Terry Collins said Wright also worked on going side-to-side on the infield, as well as having to come in from third base on slow ground balls. Wright, who's been on the disabled list since Aug. 3 with a strained right hamstring, also ran the bases on Wednesday.
"He looks great," Collins said. "We're going to advance the effort tomorrow on the bases."
After about a week and a half of rehabbing in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Wright returned to New York on Monday to continue the process.
While there's only about two weeks left to the season, Wright has been adamant that he will play again in 2013 and will get back into the lineup as soon as he's cleared.
The Mets could certainly use Wright's bat in the lineup at a time when their young players have been struggling offensively. Before going on the DL, Wright was hitting .309 with 16 home runs and 54 RBIs with a .391 on-base percentage.
Class A Savannah wins Sally League title
The Savannah Sand Gnats, the Mets' Class A affiliate, won the South Atlantic League championship on Friday night with a 2-0 win over the Hagerstown Suns (a Washington Nationals affiliate) to clinch the best-of-five series, three games to one.
Steven Matz struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings for the win. Savannah won Game 3 on Thursday, 6-0, behind seven scoreless innings from Gabriel Ynoa, the team's 18th-ranked prospect according to MLB.com.
• Mets prospect Brad Marquez caught a 19-yard touchdown pass for Texas Tech in Thursday night's 20-10 win over TCU. He finished with three receptions for 35 yards.
The Mets drafted the outfielder in the 16th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. Marquez hit .250 with one home run, nine RBIs and five doubles for the Rookie level Kingsport this season.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.