Nyjer Morgan Charges Mound, Setting Off Brawl Between Nationals, Marlins270
Washington Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan found himself at the center of his biggest controversy yet Wednesday night, when he charged the mound and threw a punch at Florida Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad to kick off a bench-clearing brawl (see video here) between the two teams in the sixth inning of the Nats’ 16-10 loss to Florida.
Morgan was angered when Volstad threw a pitch behind him, the second time the Marlins hurler appeared to take aim at the speedy outfielder. As that second purpose pitch flew past catcher Brad Davis and to the backstop at Sun Life Stadium, Morgan paused briefly, then tossed his bat aside and rushed toward Volstad. Morgan’s punch appeared to glance off the side of Volstad’s head, and almost immediately thereafter he was clothes-lined by first baseman Gaby Sanchez and pummeled by a number of his other Marlins teammates.
“He hit me the first time, so be it. But he hit two other of our guys? All right, cool. But then he whips another one behind me, we got to go,” Morgan said of the events that pushed him over the edge. “I’m just sticking up for myself and just defending my teammates. I’m just going out there and doing what I have to do.”
Morgan and Volstad, who had a bruise on his face in postgame interviews, were tossed from the game along with Marlins pitcher Jose Veras and manager Edwin Rodriguez. Nationals manager Jim Riggleman and pitcher Doug Slaten were ejected later in the game when Slaten hit Sanchez in the hip with a pitch.
Despite the multiple ejections, it is Morgan who is certain to be the talk of the incident.
He has been a lightning rod over the last week. He was suspended for seven games by Major League Baseball last Wednesday for throwing a ball into the stands that struck a fan in the face at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, a punishment he is appealing. Then over the weekend he angered Riggleman and his own teammates for a perceived cheap shot on Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson as he came across the plate to score. Riggleman wound up apologizing to St. Louis.
But his actions over the last 24-plus hours have taken his antics up another notch.
On Tuesday, he barreled into Marlins catcher Brett Hayes in the 10th inning of Washington’s 1-0 loss to Florida. Hayes was diagnosed with a separated shoulder as a result of the collision, which some Marlins players thought was dirty, and he’s likely out for the year.Vodpod videos no longer available.
That was enough to garner some retaliation from Volstad on Wednesday. He successfully plunked Morgan in the fourth inning before throwing behind him in the sixth. After getting hit, Morgan fanned the flames further by stealing second and then third base in the fourth, at which point the Nationals were down 14-3, a margin of 11 runs.
“That was garbage. That’s just bad baseball.”
— Nyjer Morgan on Chris Volstad throwing behind him in the sixth inning after already being plunked once “That was garbage. That’s just bad baseball,” said Morgan. “It’s only the fourth inning. If they’re going to hold me on, I’m going to roll out (and steal a base). The circumstances were kind of out of whack, but the game was too early. It was only the fourth inning. If it happened again, I’d do it again. It’s one of those things where I’m a hard-nosed player. I’m grimey.”
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