Tag:Nyjer Morgan
Posted on: September 6, 2010 4:16 pm

Nats put Morgan on double-secret probation

Nyjer Morgan Nationals manager Jim Riggleman is sticking by embattled outfielder Nyjer Morgan, but the team has told him they will not tolerate any more interactions with fans, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports .

"He's a catalyst for our lineup, and he's our center fielder," Riggleman said. "We're going to play him unless we get told otherwise, that he can't play. What we're hoping is that situation from Philadelphia comes out to be that it didn't even happen. That would knock off a substantial part of the suspension. The situation in Florida, we hope it gets reduced and he would be back in there sooner than later. Until then, he's going to play."

Morgan is appealing two suspensions -- one for throwing a ball into the stands in Philadelphia and the other for inciting a brawl after charging the mound in Florida.

In addition to his troubles with the league, Morgan is having a down year at the plate. He's hitting .257/.318/.316 this season -- all career lows. His career averages are .285/.346/.363. While he has 33 stolen bases this season, he's close to leading the National League in caught stealing for the second year in a row. He's been caught stealing 16 times, only one fewer than all of last season.

"I wish I was doing the things I was doing last year, definitely not getting caught so many times," Morgan said. "My defense in the first half was a little shaky, but things slowly progressed. It's just one of those years, man. You've got to chalk it up. You've got to try to finish it up strong and hopefully get ready to go next year."

Morgan said he's aware his reputation has taken a beating.

"It's just frustrating when people perceive you the wrong way when you play the game hard," Morgan said. "I guess it's basically what we signed up for. I think it's like a good buzz. All buzz is good buzz in my eyes. I'm still the same person. It doesn't change me. This year is just one of those years, you know? Things just happen for a reason. It's just going to make me a better player and a better person, too."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 3, 2010 1:09 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2010 2:56 pm

Nyjer Morgan suspended eight games

Nyjer Morgan Nyjer Morgan has received an eight-game suspension for his actions this week according to Jon Heyman of Sports Ilustrated , which is on top of a seven-game suspension for throwing a ball at a fan in Philadelphia.

Morgan has appealed the original seven-game suspension and may see it reduced after a Phillies fan rushed to his defense , but his eight-game suspension for his latest actions are well deserved. He clocked Bryan Anderson for no reason, was benched the next day for the transgression and compounded the incident by calling out his manager.

Things ratcheted up when he bowled over a Marlins catcher in extra innings in a play that could have won the Nats a game had he slid. The catcher -- Brett Hayes -- will miss the rest of the season with injuries sustained in the crash. He then cussed out a Marlins fan and things finally came to a boil Wednesday night when the Marlins plunked Morgan.

The center fielder then swiped two bags, angering the Marlins more, feeling Morgan hadn't been taught his lesson. Chris Volstad threw at him again in the sixth (although he and manager Edwin Rodriguez have denied the purpose pitch -- but there's no denying the evidence). An honest-to-god fight then broke out between two teams (see video ) that featured some punches landing and a WWE-caliber clothesline of Morgan by Florida first baseman Gaby Sanchez.

The Marlins were to blame for the fight -- after all, the punishment was doled out in the plunking, and Morgan was within his rights to steal the bases. However, there's no questioning he's brought all this upon himself, and there's near-zero chance that his eight-game suspension will be reduced.

And in light of recent events, that seven-game suspension might stand, knocking Morgan out for 15 games. If he has any brains in him, he'll serve the suspensions immediately so he doesn't miss any time in 2011. It's not as if the team needs him now, anyways: the Nats are out of the postseason race and expanded rosters mean they can cover Morgan's absence in the field without losing any other players.

Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post notes that Volstad was suspended six games, Alejandro Sanabia five and Gabe Sanchez three.

UPDATE : The Associated Press has revealed the rest of the suspensions. Nats pitcher Doug Slaten was docked three games for throwing at Sanchez in the seventh inning, and Jim Riggleman was suspended two games along with third-base coach Pat Listach (three games), who jumped in the beginnings of the fray and got in some shots at Volstad. Fish manager Edwin Rodriguez was docked one, and reliever Jose Veras was fined, as were all suspended players.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: September 2, 2010 12:50 pm

Marlins say they're done with Morgan

As far as the Marlins are concerned, their war with the Washington Nationals is finished.

The two teams will meet once more this season, Sept. 10-12 at Nationals Park -- and it's highly unlikely Nyjer Morgan will be around for that meeting.

Said Marlins third baseman Wes Helms to MLB.com : "I know it's over for me. I hope it is for these other guys."

It seems nobody is too upset about the first time Morgan was hit in Wednesday's game -- not even Morgan himself.

What seems to be in debate is whether Morgan's two stolen bases after being hit in the fourth inning crossed the line. Most of the former players serving as commentators on MLB Network and ESPN all seemed to agree Morgan's two stolen bases escalated the disagreement.

Nationals manager Jim Riggleman told reporters (via NatsInsider.com ) that he didn't see much of a problem.

"The Florida Marlins will not decide when we run. We will decide when we run," Riggleman said. "He felt that's the way I'm going to get my payback. Sometimes some guys get it in the form of going in hard at somebody at second base on a double play. I've seen that many times. But Nyjer took his revenge in the form of a stolen base. And I don't have any problem with it."

It seems that if you put a guy on base for free, you shouldn't complain about what he does when he gets there. The Marlins, apparently did.

Oddly enough, Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez wouldn't admit to the fact Chris Volstad was throwing at Morgan in the sixth inning, even though it was obvious to everyone -- and even justified by some.

"Everything was resolved. We were trying to pitch inside," Rodriguez said. "We were still trying to pitch inside the third time he was up. He was playing his game, we were playing our games, let's put it that way."

Yeah, like trying to hit him.

Morgan then went after Volstad and there were actual punches thrown and one player (Volsted) left with blood on his jersey -- much different than most baseball brawl hug-fests.

Nyjer Morgan Morgan's had one heck of a bad week or so. Quick roundup: he was suspended for throwing a ball in the stands (even though he was defended by a Philadelphia fan ), moved down in the lineup from leadoff to eighth, ran over Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson, called out by his manager for the action, benched the next day, called out his manager for not having his back, ran over a Marlins catcher in a play that would have won the game had he slid instead of trying to bowl over the catcher, a YouTube video of him cussing out a Marlins fan showed up Wednesday, and then, you know, the whole fracas.

He also didn't help himself for the way he left the field -- taunting the fans like a hockey goon as he left the field. That's understood in hockey (Morgan played juniors hockey), but looked down upon in baseball.

What's interesting is that Morgan was brought to D.C. in a trade with alleged "bad apple" Lastings Milledge.

"People are going to have their own opinions," Morgan said after Wednesday's game (again, from NatsInsider.com ). "I know what kind of player I am. I'm going out there balls out. I'm not going to go out there and take anything for granted. I'm going to show that I'm a hard-nosed ballplayer, and that's the way it is."

Morgan's teammates had his back on the field; in the clubhouse, it was a little more subdued.

"He's definitely done some things over the past couple of weeks that are a little questionable, I think," Washington's Ryan Zimmerman said. "We've all talked. Me and [Ivan Rodriguez] have talked to him. … He obviously has to learn a little more about the game. But you can't take away from how hard he plays. That's what he does every day. It's not like he's changed over the last week or two. That's the attitude, the way he's played ever since he's been here. That's who he is."

He'll also be suspended for a good while in the next day or so. You'd think his recent actions won't play well in his appeal, either.

One thing's for sure, people now know Morgan for more than just his awesome stirrups. Although, stylish hosiery may be a better claim to fame than hot-head problem child.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: September 1, 2010 9:34 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 10:27 pm

Brawl after Marlins throw at Morgan

Nyjer Morgan
It seemed like a matter of when, not if, the Marlins threw at the Nationals' Nyjer Morgan on Wednesday night.

Everyone in the ballpark knew payback was likely after the outfielder barrelled over Marlins catcher Brett Hayes on Tuesday night, causing a season-ending shoulder injury. It came in Wednesday's fourth inning, when Chris Volstad hit Morgan. Morgan responded by stealing second and third, with the Nationals already trailing 14-3.

Then Morgan came up again in the sixth and the fireworks really started, as Volstad threw a ball well behind him. According to this video and accounts of those at the game via Twitter, Morgan charged the mound and took a few wild swings at Volstad, connecting with a left, before being taken down by a Gaby Sanchez clothesline. Volstad then got a couple of punches in on Morgan as benches emptied. This wasn't your normal baseball scrum, this was a real fight.

Morgan has put up quite a tally lately: allegedly throwing a ball at fans and drawing a seven-game suspension, mowing down two catchers (though at least the one against Hayes looked clean), apparently cursing a Marlins fan Tuesday night, then inciting a bench-clearing brawl.

UPDATE: Nationals pitcher Doug Slaten plunked Sanchez in the midsection in the seventh, earning the hook for himself and manager Jim Riggleman.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 1, 2010 12:38 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 6:41 pm

Morgan barrels into another catcher

Who knew that Nyjer Morgan's actions against the Cardinals Saturday might be the culprit for a Tuesday loss against the Marlins?

After drilling Cards catcher Bryan Anderson with an elbow, Morgan found himself in the thick of another collision with a catcher -- but while this one may have been warranted, it still fired up the opposing team.

"The only thing that kind of fires you up is you've seen the way he's been playing the last week or so," Marlins third baseman Chad Tracy said of the play to MLB.com.

Morgan was on second base in the 10th inning of a 0-0 game with Alberto Gonzalez on first. Adam Kennedy hit a chopper to Dan Uggla at second, who flipped to Hanley Ramirez to double Gonzalez off second. Ramirez didn't throw to first, seeing he didn't have a chance to nip Kennedy.

Morgan, meanwhile, ripped around third and made a play for home. Ramirez double-clutched, then fired a high pitch to Hayes just as Morgan barrelled into the catcher.

"I didn't have a chance to get my legs under me," Hayes said, who left the game with an injured left shoulder. While X-rays came back clean, Hayes is due for an MRI on Wednesday.

"Obviously, [Morgan's] track record doesn't help himself -- somebody who does that is looking to hurt somebody," Hayes added. "But, you know, it's baseball."

"It was just one of those plays," Morgan said. "If I had slid, I probably would have hurt myself."

Perhaps, but sliding may have given the Nats the edge in the game.

"If he would have slid at home plate, he would have been safe," Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said, a sentiment Tracy agreed with. "Hayes was more on the right side of the plate."

Perhaps the true test of whether the play was clean or not came from Morgan's manager, Jim Riggleman. Riggleman was furious over Morgan's actions against Anderson, benching him Sunday and apologizing personally to Anderson and St. Louis skipper Tony La Russa. He would have no reason to mince words.

"He made the decision and I don't have any problem with his decision," Riggleman said, echoing the sentiment of everyone else involved that virtually any player would have barrelled into Hayes, even as they hesitated to say it was clean.

"I would have said it was clean, if I hadn't seen what he had done earlier in the week in St. Louis," Tracy noted. "But I think he had made his mind up when he came around third that he was going to hit him. You can't really get upset right there, because anybody could have made the decision to hit him."

The Marlins plan to recall an additional catcher now that rosters have expanded, although that likely would have happened regardless. Hayes doesn't expect to play for a while, saying his range of motion is not good.

Meanwhile, Morgan is quickly gaining a reputation that he'd be better served without. He engaged in a bit of trash-talking with a fan when taking the field in the bottom 10th, referring to the fan as a "fat bitch." Couple that with his pending seven-game suspension for throwing a ball at a Philadelphia fan last week (although a Phillies fan wrote in to defend Morgan ), and one has to wonder what the heck is going on with Morgan.

UPDATE : MLB.com's Joe Frisaro says Hayes has a separated shoulder. Surgery is not needed, but the rest of his season is done.

He also weighed in more specifically if he thought the hit was clean:
Obviously, we all know last week [against St. Louis] and what he tried to do. Put that aside, and it was a good, clean hit in my opinion. Do I feel if he had slid that he would have been safe, absolutely. 

Do I think he decided to run me over as he rounded third, absolutely. That's my opinion. But in terms of the hit, I thought it was a clean hit. Nothing wrong with the hit. I just hope the intentions were good.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: August 30, 2010 7:44 pm

Nats' Morgan unhappy with manager

Nyjer Morgan Nyjer Morgan has fired back at manager Jim Riggleman.

"He just basically did a cardinal sin. You don't blast your player in the papers," Morgan told reporters before Monday's game in Miami, including the Washington Post 's Adam Kilgore .

Quick recap of the Morgan situation -- on Saturday he put a hockey-style crosscheck on Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson and missed the plate. He went back to touch the plate, but was ruled out because Ivan Rodriguez had touched him to guide his return to the plate.

Riggleman said Morgan "did an unprofessional thing" and then benched him Sunday, saying it was so he wouldn't get hit in retaliation.

Morgan wasn't happy with that explanation.
"I guess it was his thought that maybe I shouldn't be in the lineup," Morgan said. "I don't know why. As players, we police ourselves. Maybe, I guess, from how he hit thought it was, I guess he perceived it as some nasty play with the intentions of trying to hurt somebody before coming to me and asking me about the situation, which was very unacceptable. But on my half, I'm not going to go ahead and throw fuel on the fire. I'm going to try to be as professional as I can about the situation. Basically, I thought I should have been in there yesterday.

"I probably knew something was coming. But I know as another player, they're not going to try to intentionally hit me in the [expletive] head. I'm probably one of the league leaders in getting hit by pitches this year.* Getting hit by a pitch, you've got to take your lumps."
Morgan also explained his play on Saturday:
"I don't want to be perceived as a dirty player. It was just an intense play. From what I saw, I saw [Albert] Pujols threw a nice little pump fake. I was going full-speed around third. It was just what I saw. I thought maybe the ball was coming. I saw the catcher maybe tense up. I could have took the kid out if I wanted to, but I kind of grazed him. It wasn't, in my eyes, intentional. From what I saw, I guess have should have slid. Next time, I'll slide." Morgan's had a rough week. He was suspended for throwing a ball in the stands , was picked off first base in a game Friday night, moved to eighth in the order for Saturday and benched Sunday.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 29, 2010 9:53 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 12:30 pm

Morgan benched Sunday for actions Saturday

Nyjer Morgan In Sunday's game, the Nationals took out the Cardinals 4-2 without familiar face Nyjer Morgan in the lineup.

That's because Morgan was benched Sunday , a punishment for his actions on Saturday, reports the Nationals Daily News .

In the eighth inning of Saturday's game, the Nats put up a six-spot against the Cardinals. Morgan attempted a sacrifice bunt but was safe at first on an error by pitcher Mike MacDougal. On a Willie Harris double, Morgan was racing around third base to score the fourth run of the inning of a game the Nats would go on to win 14-6.

Instead of focusing on winning the game, Morgan veered away from home plate and elbow-blocked catcher Bryan Anderson's back as Albert Pujols held onto the relay throw, seeing that Morgan could not be thrown out. Unbeknownst to Morgan in his rage, he did not touch home plate. Ivan Rodriguez grabbed him and propelled him back to the plate, and a scrambling Morgan slapped home plate, but ended up being called out due to Rodriguez's physical contact.

Manager Jim Riggleman was not happy with the incident and believes Morgan was angered by batting eighth instead of his customary leadoff spot.

"I think it was just a culmination of Nyjer's anger from not hitting first," Riggleman said. "[He] did an unprofessional thing. He went after the catcher. I certainly don't condone that."

Morgan is hitting .259/.316/.321 in 486 at-bats, not exactly numbers befitting a leadoff man despite 94 starts leading off, plus an additional 11 starts in the two-hole. His start in the eighth spot on Saturday was his first not batting first or second -- and to hear Riggleman tell it, he didn't take the news well.

"I think [Morgan's frustration] just was building up all day," Riggleman added. "I think he thought I was wearing that [catcher's] equipment there at home plate."

Riggleman said he apologized to both Anderson and Cards manager Tony LaRussa, but held Morgan out not just to make a statement but to avoid any confrontation.

"I can't minimize [the incident], because if I take the approach that there's nothing wrong with it, we're gonna get people hurt on the field," Riggleman said. "There's gotta be retaliation. If Nyjer was playing today, he'd get hit."

Morgan is quickly gaining a reputation as a hothead, both with this and firing a baseball in the stands in Philadelphia angrily earlier in August. He earned a seven-game suspension for that offense, which he is appealing.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 26, 2010 5:36 pm

Phillies fan defends Nats' Morgan

Nyjer Morgan A Phillies fan wrote the Washington Post to defend Nationals outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who was suspended seven games on Wednesday for his actions in a game in Philadelphia last weekend.

Morgan reportedly threw a ball into the stands at a heckler that hit another fan. MLB called Morgan's actions "inappropriate."

Adam Holman was sitting in the same section and e-mailed the Post his view of the events, saying Morgan's toss was a "rainbow-style" throw and directed at a kid. Here's the Post 's Adam Kilgore with a synopsis of Holman's letter:
In Holman's recollection, Morgan began being heckled in the fourth or fifth inning. One made fun of how Morgan wore his socks high and pants baggy. Morgan, Holman wrote, laughed at some of the comments.

While the Nationals warmed up in the bottom of the eighth inning, Morgan played catch with left fielder Roger Bernadina. Before the inning started, Morgan looked at the crowd. A boy of about 12, Holman recalled, leaned over a railing and called for the ball.

Standing 30 or so feet away, Holman wrote, Morgan lobbed the ball "rainbow-style" in the direction of the boy. The ball sailed over the boy and smacked a fan who was looking in a different direction in the shoulder.

"It wasn't even directed towards the heckler," Holman wrote. "It's unfortunate that the ball was overthrown, but it shouldn't be Morgan's fault that the one guy in the section who wasn't paying attention got hit, there were a number of us standing up trying to catch the ball."
Morgan has appealed the suspension, but you can expect his agent will get in touch with Mr. Holman quicker than Morgan goes first-to-third.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
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