Daniel Murphy is proud he put fatherhood ahead of baseball, and New York Mets manager Terry Collins thinks criticism his second baseman received for taking paternity leave this week was unfair.

Murphy made his season debut in Thursday’s 8-2 loss to Washington, three days after the birth of son Noah. He called staying in Florida an extra day “the right decision to make” following wife Victoria’s cesarean section and said “we felt the best thing for our family was for me to stay.”

He learned Sunday that his wife’s water broke, then traveled to Florida and missed Monday’s 9-7 opening loss to Washington and Wednesday night’s 5-1 defeat. He said his son was born at 12:02 p.m. Monday.

Major-league rules allow up to three days of paternity leave, and WFAN broadcaster Mike Francesa said on the air Wednesday that Murphy should not have skipped the second game.

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“One day I understand. And in the old days they didn’t do that,” Francesa said. “But one day, go see the baby be born and come back. You’re a Major League Baseball player. You can hire a nurse to take care of the baby if your wife needs help.”


• The Chicago Cubs are trying to sell minority-ownership shares in the ballclub as the team seeks help in financing renovation of 100-year-old Wrigley Field. Forbes magazine reported that the Cubs have a valuation of $1.2 billion.

Matt Kemp is expected to make his long-awaited return from the disabled list Friday in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ home opener. Kemp batted .270 with six home runs in 73 games last season but underwent operations on his shoulder and ankle.

• One of the Yankees’ marquee acquisitions, Masahiro Tanaka, will make his debut Friday night at Toronto.