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Nyjer Morgan out of today's lineup

The morning after Nyjer Morgan initiated contact unnecessarily with St. Louis catcher Bryan Anderson at the plate last night, Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman made the decision to bench his regular center fielder, saying if he were in the lineup today that "he'd get hit."

The incident occurred in the bottom of a six-run eighth for the Nationals during their 14-5 victory at Nationals Park. Morgan at the time would have been the 13th run, but he missed touching home and headed straight toward Anderson, who had stepped in front of the plate. Morgan delivered a shoulder check and was called out for player interference after teammate Ivan Rodriguez pushed him back to the plate.

"I think it was just a culmination of Nyjer's anger that was brewing," Riggleman said.

Morgan's testy disposition had a lot to do with him being moved from his regular leadoff spot to eighth, where he batted last night. After last night's victory, Morgan, who is appealing a seven-game suspension for allegedly throwing a ball at Phillies fan last week in Philadelphia, clearly was displeased with being moved down in the lineup.

Morgan went 0 for 3 last night and is hitting .259. Since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 16, Morgan is 9 for 39.

"I think he was just having a day like where he was upset about some things and did an unprofessional thing. He went after the catcher," Riggleman said. "So I certainly don't condone that, but we've all made mistakes. I think that's not Nyjer's style of play to do something like that. That's totally uncharacteristic. I think the culmination of the day, when I called him in, told him I was going to hit him eighth instead of leadoff, and I think it just was building up all day. I think he thought I was wearing that equipment there at home plate."

The repercussions for such an aggressive act most likely would have been Adam Wainwright, today's starter for St. Louis, hitting Morgan with a pitch. Riggleman just didn't want to leave Morgan exposed to that possibility.

"If I take the approach there's nothing wrong with it, then we're going to get people hurt on the field," Riggleman said. "There's got to be retaliation. If Nyjer was playing today, he'd get hit. If an opposing player did that to my catcher and he came to the plate, he would get hit."

Riggleman said he approached both Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa and Anderson to apologize for Morgan's actions, and they both accepted.

"It's totally inexcusable," Riggleman said. "I think you've never seen that before from [Morgan]. You'll never see it again from him, and it's a mistake. I can't minimize it."

By Gene Wang  |  August 29, 2010; 12:14 PM ET
Categories:  Nyjer Morgan  
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Next: Game 131 discussion thread: Cardinals at Nationals

Comments

At least we got Burnett in that trade. Otherwise..........

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | August 29, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman says I won't see that mistake again from Morgan, but he's probably wrong. If they did a Top 10 this year of "Bonehead" Nats plays, Morgan would be in at least 6 of them. Whether it be throwing your glove while a ball was in play, getting picked off first so many times I can't count them, to striking out in situations where you just can't strike out, to thowing errors, to yesterday's situation, Morgan has to start thinking.

Come to think of it, Morgan would be in at least 8 of the top 10 Bonehead Nats plays.

Posted by: d-35 | August 29, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"There's got to be retaliation. If Nyjer was playing today, he'd get hit. If an opposing player did that to my catcher and he came to the plate, he would get hit."

Love it! I expect fireworks today.

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | August 29, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Leave it to Riggs to finally do the right thing at the wrong time. Man I woulda loved to have seen Morgan get drilled today.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | August 29, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

BTW haven't heard much lately....how's our man Mr Morse holding up?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | August 29, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

and when is Dibble coming back---in Fla or is he on extended leave?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | August 29, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

skins_fan_22: And you're a fan of this team? never has so much been made of a play that didn't determine the outcome of the game, bench him dfa him, whatever!

Posted by: dargregmag | August 29, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I think Dibble's gone. The fact that it was reported initially as a two game "voluntary" vacation and has gone beyond that without explanation kind of points that way. Also, have you noticed that Carpenter no longer says "Ray Knight, filling in for Rob Dibble" at the top of the telecast?

Posted by: joebleux | August 29, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Skinsfan,

Don't you remember? Morse was a flash in the pan. OK to come off the bench and hit in late-inning situations, but his track record clearly showed he could never be an everyday player. Why should this club, of all clubs, waste valuable PT on such an experiment? Thank goodness, everybody's come back to their senses now.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | August 29, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Morgan is a professional mistake.

Posted by: rogieshan | August 29, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Just hope someone else doesn't take one in Nyjer's place. Kudos to Riggleman for apologizing to LaRussa. Nyjer's erratic behavior this year has to be considered disruptive and he may be headed out the door unless he straightens up and flys right. If Morse proves he can handle the bat Bernadina could easily step into CF.

On another note I see where Reds rookie RHP Mike Leake is now on the DL with shoulder fatigue. He jumped right into the starting rotation with no time in the minors. Was moved to the bullpen recently to slow down the innings accumulation but got hammered in his last two relief appearances. With the Reds in contention it will be interesting to see how he is handled. i'm not sure what the solution is for getting young pitchers adjusted to ML workload. It's not just the increased innings but the intensity of the pitches, the desire to go all out on every pitch.
Not sure that keeping them in the minors longer is the answer, SS certainly wasn't going to benefit from pitching in AAA for 2-3 more months. Onse solution might be skipping starts to give them more rest. That would create some problems with putting replacements in and out of the rotation but might pay off in the long run.
At any rate I'm sure there will be considerable attention paid to the issue.

Posted by: Natmeister | August 29, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I actually like listening to Ray Knight quite a bit. But if Dibble is gone, which I find hard to believe, that would border on the absurd. Unless I missed something and and he killed somebody, what exactly did Dibble do that was so horrible? Oh yea he made a slanderous comment about Jesus. Seriously this is kinda dumb.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | August 29, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

sf22: if Dibble's really gone, he earned it. You can't mock a critical strategy of your employer (in the Nat's case, their plan for limiting Strasburg's workload) in public and expect to stay employed.

Posted by: joebleux | August 29, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Dibble going on and on about two women in the stands behind home plate, talking about shopping (Dibble said) or whatever, was worse. His macho opinion about SS was also stupid, but not as bad. Are women supposed to focus only on the three-hour game, like guys supposedly do, when the Nats are so boring? Besides, many women, my wife among them, are as knowledgeable as guys about baseball. What's wrong with friends enjoying each other at the ballpark? Dibble does need to think about all this for awhile.

Posted by: EdDC | August 29, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

>>You can't mock a critical strategy of your employer (in the Nat's case, their plan for limiting Strasburg's workload) in public and expect to stay employed. Posted by: joebleux

First off Dibble isn't employed by the Nats. He's employed by MASN. Big difference. 2nd he's a color man not a play by play guy. He's paid to be opinionated. If he steps on a few toes or disagrees with the home team, so be it and all the better for us. Had enough bland homers thru the years that I'd rather listen to someone who speaks his mind.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | August 29, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I think Dibble is gone, he tried to justify his critical comments about SS by saying they directed at a healthy SS based on the exam he got from the Phillies team doctor who said "you'll be pitching in 5 days". (I would think the Phillies would have to be wondering about their team doctor as well). That's pretty lame on several levels and I haven't read where he has expressed any remorse about his comments, only anger that his words were "twisted by sick individuals". I think the lawyers are probably working out the terms of separation and the announcemebnt will be made soon.

Posted by: Natmeister | August 29, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

>sf22: if Dibble's really gone, he earned it. You can't mock a critical strategy of your employer (in the Nat's case, their plan for limiting Strasburg's workload) in public and expect to stay employed.

Posted by: joebleux

Who cares. I mock them all the time. They're idiots.

Posted by: Brue | August 29, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Also Dibble didn't say anything about Strasburg that a buncha other old schoolers didn't also say. Just so happened the timing turned out to be bad.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | August 29, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

>Are women supposed to focus only on the three-hour game, like guys supposedly do, when the Nats are so boring? Besides, many women, my wife among them, are as knowledgeable as guys about baseball. What's wrong with friends enjoying each other at the ballpark? Dibble does need to think about all this for awhile.

Posted by: EdDC

Whipped!

Posted by: Brue | August 29, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Dibble wasn't just mocking a critical strategy, he was mocking the Nat's (and maybe baseball's) most promising young pitcher who, as it turns out, had a significant injury. That's just too much to swallow, regardless who his actual employer may be. If you turn off the fan base and hurt ratings, you're gone, peirod.

Posted by: Natmeister | August 29, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but the other dopes talking about SS weren't publicly representing the Nats in some capacity.

I don't know what Dibble's exact chain of command is, but I guarantee that if the Lerners want him gone, he's gone, whether he technically gets his paycheck from MASN or not.

Posted by: joebleux | August 29, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

is it just me, or is debbie taylor an awful field reporter

- sorry to change the subject

Posted by: Nats1924 | August 29, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

> If you turn off the fan base and hurt ratings, you're gone, peirod.

Posted by: Natmeister |

Too bad the same thing doesn't apply to the manager and players. This is what people with no cajones do - they flex their muscle in the place that causes the least resistance for them. They want to show who's in charge, but they don't do it in any meaningful way to improve the team. They pick on a soft target like Dibble because they're afraid to address the actual team.

Posted by: Brue | August 29, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

@Brue:
"Who cares. I mock them all the time. They're idiots."

Were you referring to your own employers, or to Nats management?

Posted by: bertbkatz | August 29, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

>Were you referring to your own employers, or to Nats management?

Posted by: bertbkatz

Someone hasn't been paying attention.

Posted by: Brue | August 29, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

@Brue:
OK. So you were mocking Nats Management. But the response I quoted, in isolation, was ambiguous. Thank you for clearing that up.

Posted by: bertbkatz | August 29, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

@Brue:

joebleux said: "You can't mock a critical strategy of your employer (...) and expect to stay employed."

You said: "Who cares. I mock them all the time. They're idiots."

It wasn't clear in this context if you were talking about mocking Nats management, or mocking your employer. The former, you do here, "all the time". If you do engage in the latter, it certainly would be happening elsewhere "all the time".

I certainly have been paying attention to your trenchant critique of Nats management. Again, thanks for clearing that up.

Posted by: bertbkatz | August 29, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

If Nyjer wasn't happy about batting eighth, he must be positively livid about being held out of the lineup entirely. I can't wait to see what stupid, pointless thing he does next.

I'll lose a lot of respect for Rizzo if Nyjer is back next year.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | August 29, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

1. Morgan is an idiot and is not the answer in CF.

2. If it were up to me, I'd have fired Dibble for the Strasburg remarks. Also, Ray Knight is far more knowledgable about more aspects of the game; Dibble seems only to know pitching. I also had grown very tired of his "if only they would do as I advise" attitude. If he is gone, good riddance. I really enjoy listening to Ray, and assuming he is up for all the travel, I hope he gets the color job.

Now if they would only dump that hack Johnny Holliday! But he's an old Washington hand, so I can tolerate it.

Posted by: Meridian1 | August 29, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Debbie Taylor may be the nicest, sweetest person in the world. However, her totally banal and "sunshiny" comments grate even more every day. Laughably bad, but she sure seems to try hard.

Posted by: bogyfre | August 30, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

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