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Nationals prepare for Nyjer Morgan's suspension

Since the Nationals have an off day Thursday, today's game will be the last time the Nationals play with Nyjer Morgan for an indefinite period of time. Morgan's hearing to appeal his suspensions - seven games for "inappropriate actions" in Philadelphia and eight games for three other separate incidents, including his role in last Wednesday's brawl - will come Friday morning.

The Nationals are expecting the number of games will be knocked down, especially for his incident in Philadelphia. One club source is confident the first suspension will be eliminated totally. (I'm not so sure about that, but I'd bet it'll be three at the most.) The Nationals know Morgan will receive some games off, and they'll have to find a leadoff hitter and center fielder in the meantime.

When Riggleman moved Morgan out of the first spot in the lineup, Adam Kennedy hit leadoff for five games. As a leadoff hitter this year, Kennedy is 4 for 26 with two doubles and two walks.

Riggleman said Kennedy is a main candidate to hit leadoff in Morgan's stead, but he has also "toyed around" with placing rookie Danny Espinosa at the leadoff spot. Though Espinosa has only hit at the bottom of the order in his nascent career, Espinosa hit leadoff and second the majority of his minor league games this season.

"I hate to put that that on Espinosa so much," Riggleman said. "But it might be that what he does."

Roger Bernadina will likely take over in center field, which opens up left field for Willie Harris, Kevin Mench or Justin Maxwell. If Maxwell plays, he could take center, keeping Bernadina in left.

In a bit of a twist, Morgan will start his suspension against the Marlins, the team the Nationals scrapped with last week. The controversy started when Morgan bowled over catcher Brett Hayes, a legal play that ended with Hayes's shoulder separated and his season over. Chris Volstad drilled Morgan with a pitch, which led to Morgan stealing two bases. The Marlins took exception and Volstad threw behind Morgan, which led to his charging the mound.

Riggleman is convinced any batters hit by the two starters - Josh Johnson and John Lannan - would be coincidence and that any lingering bad blood will not flare up over the weekend.

"Yeah, definitely," Riggleman said. "I think so."

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 8, 2010; 11:57 AM ET
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Next: Game 141 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Mets


geez, they're trying to sell tickets, Riggs--work with us a little, willya? Couldn't you just hint around a little at some grudges? Imply the team is stockpiling chains in the dugout? Keeping rolls of nickels laying around?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The Nats should start working on next years' lineup now anyway, with Espinoza leading off, Bernadina batting sixth and playing centerfield and Morgan as a fourth outfielder or playing in the Independent League.

Posted by: hapster | September 8, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I heard the Marlins are saying Riggleman's a "panty-waist girlie-man," RZimm "a stuck-up phony," and Dunn, "strong as an ox but not quite as smart."

There, that oughta get things brewing...

(* I start hearing all kinds of things in the middle of the work week...)

Posted by: gilbertbp | September 8, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

You know the drill, Psycho Knucklehead....don't let no doors hit you in the xxx on the way out of SouthEAST...feel free to spend the time off.... close by at St E's.....

Posted by: FletcherChristian1 | September 8, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: gilbertbp
I heard the Marlins are saying Riggleman's a "panty-waist girlie-man," RZimm "a stuck-up phony," and Dunn, "strong as an ox but not quite as smart."
hahahahahahahahaahaha any Half WIT (not in total DENIAL)knows the FISH....OWN the Riggleman ROADKILL......and they have EARNED, on the field, the right to say anything they want to say......

Posted by: FletcherChristian1 | September 8, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

We're preparing also. We're preparing a huge celebration in honor of Nutdog. Thursday will be proclaimed a huge holiday. Free at last.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 8, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

With RayK doing "color commentary" it will take a brawl to make the games more than a snooze fest. I have come to hate the words "Gosh" "Golly" and the infamous "Well golly, partner..."

Goodbye Moonball. Don't hurry back.

Posted by: howjensen | September 8, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman said Kennedy is a main candidate to hit leadoff in Morgan's stead////////////// Who will CLUELESS Riggleman sit if Kennedy plays?? ...NOBODY in this town wants to see Kennedy on the field the rest of this season if it means sitting Desmond or Espinosa... NO-BODY !!!!!!

Posted by: FletcherChristian1 | September 8, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer has an OPS that makes my credit score actually look good in comparison. He peaked in 2009 in limited action and the organization needs to move on from the 30 yr old head case with very limited upside (treaching a guy of his age good baseball instincts with respect to pretty much every facet of the game is just not likely to be fruitful); the fact that he'll have to sit is a good thing. Let some of the younger guys who have something to prove get out there and let's see what they can do. But Bernie in CF, Morse in RF juggle LF with Harris and Maxwell and plug anyone you'd like into leadoff on any given day. Not much to lose at this point, now is there.

Posted by: dfh21 | September 8, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer is a goofball -- but the Mets have three jerks playing for them. According to the NY Times, Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo skipped out on the team's visit to Walter Reed. they gave no reason for their absence.

Posted by: swanni | September 8, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I think that the Nats should bring in Miguel Batista to pitch. He has the guts to protect the squad if the fish try something fishy.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | September 8, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm, Beltran, Perez and Castillo skip the obligatory big league visit to WRH. Apparently the excuse was, "lost in translation". When the three heard bus trip to the hospital they thought it was bus trip to the hostile!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | September 8, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

This is a good (overdue) time to sit Morgan for the season and let some of the callups see what they can do. We know what Morgan can do (read: more gaffs than Joe Biden).

Then, after the season, trade Nyjer for a ham sandwich.

Posted by: rg019571 | September 9, 2010 6:55 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about Beltran and Castillo, but Perez is not making appearances these days.

Posted by: markfromark | September 9, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Trade nyger for a ham sandwich, haha! I love it. Riggleman would have platooned Ryan Zimmerman for another year before he started him at 3rd.

Posted by: shred11 | September 9, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

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