Thursday, September 2, 2010
Nyjer Morgan, Marlins face discipline
ESPN.com news services
Nyjer Morgan has been in the middle of controversy for the past two days.
The Washington Nationals outfielder was ejected Wednesday night after charging the mound and touching off a benches-clearing brawl with the Florida Marlins.
He's likely to face discipline from Major League Baseball, as well as Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad, who threw at Morgan, and other members of both teams who scuffled in the fifth inning of Florida's 16-10 win.
Morgan charged at Volstad in the fifth inning after Volstad, who had plunked Morgan in the fourth inning, sailed a pitch behind his back. Morgan flipped his bat aside, ran out to the mound and took a roundhouse swing that appeared to graze Volstad's face.
That's when Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez flew in and clotheslined Morgan, knocking off his batting helmet and sending him to the ground. Both benches emptied and converged on the scrum, including Nationals third base coach Pat Listach, who jumped into the pile to defend Morgan.
Managers Jim Riggleman of the Nationals and Edwin Rodriguez of the Marlins jawed at each other and Morgan, with his shirt unbuttoned, was escorted off the field with his arms raised to the boos of the crowd.
Morgan, Volstad, Rodriguez and Marlins pitcher Jose Veras were ejected.
The brawl came a day after Morgan collided with Marlins catcher Brett Hayes on a play at the plate in the 10th inning. Hayes sustained a separated shoulder on the play.
After being hit in the fourth inning on Wednesday, Morgan stole two bases with the Nationals trailing 14-3. He later said he thought the matter was settled when he was plunked in the fourth.
"I thought it was over after [the fourth inning], but once I saw the ball go right behind me, it's time to go," Morgan said of his reasoning for charging the mound. "Once is good enough, but twice, no, it's time to go."
The Marlins were not happy with Morgan's antics.
"There's nothing good I can say about someone who doesn't play the game the right way and doesn't respect the integrity of the game," Florida's Wes Helms said of Morgan."We had to show we weren't going to put up with how he was treating us."
Washington reliever Doug Slaten and Riggleman were ejected after Sanchez was hit with a pitch with two outs in the seventh. Four batters were hit overall.
"They made the decision to throw at Nyjer -- they did and then the question is do we throw at them," Riggleman said. "I got some of my veteran players together and said, 'It's your ballclub, if you want someone getting thrown at, I'll order it right now,' and everybody said, 'No, it's over.' That being the case, when they threw at him a second time, then it's not over."
It's not the first time Morgan has been in trouble lately.
Morgan is currently appealing a seven-game suspension for throwing a ball at a fan in the stands in Philadelphia on Aug. 21.
Last Saturday night, Morgan collided with St. Louis Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson, who had stepped a foot or two in front of the plate. Riggleman later called Morgan's actions "unprofessional."
The two teams are scheduled to play a three-game series in Washington starting Friday, Sept. 10.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.