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Saturday, January 4, 2014
Nyjer Morgan seeks return to MLB

By Jerry Crasnick
ESPN.com

Tony Plush is looking to return to the major leagues.

Outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who attracted a following and agitated opponents through his fast-talking, high-energy alter ego "Tony Plush,'' is pursuing jobs in Major League Baseball along with a possible return to Japan after spending the 2013 season with the Yokohama DeNa BayStars, his agent said Saturday.

Morgan, 33, is a .280 career hitter with 117 stolen bases in parts of six seasons with Pittsburgh, Washington and Milwaukee. His most productive season came in 2009, when he hit .307 with 42 steals for the Pirates and Nationals.

Morgan hit .294 with 11 home runs in 108 games with Yokohama in Japan's Central League in 2013, but recently switched agents and is now represented by Team One and Millennium Sports.

Jonathan Maurer, one of Morgan's new agents, said he's had a dialogue with 6-8 clubs that have expressed interest in signing the outfielder.

"Japan was a great experience for Nyjer and he would still enjoy playing there, but he's had a great deal of success in the States and would love to come back here as well,'' Maurer said. "We've had interest from teams who see him as a guy who could come in and spell a starter or possibly earn more playing time.''

Morgan's popularity crested in Milwaukee in September 2011, when 43,283 fans attended Tony Plush Rally Towel Night at Miller Park. Morgan made headlines with his exuberant lingo and an aggressive style of play that he referred to as "Plush-damentals.''

He attracted more than 70,000 followers on Twitter, was the inspiration for a faux Twitter account called "Not Tony Plush,'' and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with Milwaukee teammates Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.

But Morgan also generated attention for some combative antics during his tenure in the big leagues. He engaged in some spirited back-and-forth with fans in San Francisco, clashed with St. Louis pitcher Chris Carpenter and received an eight-game suspension and a $15,000 fine for his part in a series of brawls in 2010.

"I just figure we're entertainers,'' Morgan said in a 2011 interview with ESPN.com. "We're on one of the biggest stages. Trust me, if I was batting .202, I wouldn't be doing the [expletive] I'm doing.''