CHICAGO -- Third base has been a chronic problem over the years for the Chicago Cubs.
Ron Santo had a Hall of Fame career with the franchise from 1960-73, and then the team waited, for the most part, until 2003, for Aramis Ramirez to come and give the Cubs nine years of production.
The Cubs have several third-base prospects in the minor leagues, but they've pieced things together this year and have received some interesting production numbers.
They found themselves in a bind again this week when Luis Valbuena went on the disabled list and Cody Ransom stopped hitting.
Then along came Donnie Murphy.
The 30-year-old journeyman, who spent most of the season at Triple-A Des Moines, Iowa after being let go by the Brewers in spring training, came up this week and put on an unexpected power show. He homered in Tuesday's 9-8 loss at Philadelphia before belting two and driving in four runs in Wednesday's 5-2 victory. His three-run shot in the ninth inning was the game-winner.
Murphy entered Friday with 21 career homers in a major league career that began in 2004 with Kansas City and has taken him to Oakland and Miami before he came to the Cubs.
"Each time I get called up, I'm not as nervous anymore," Murphy said.
Although production has been sporadic at the hot corner, Cubs third basemen have combined to hit 19 homers this season, surpassing the 12 hit by Cubs third basemen last year. The 19 homers were second most in the National League and fifth most in the majors entering Thursday, when the Cubs fell 12-1 to the Phillies. Murphy went 1-for-4, a double, in the game.