Nationals Journal: Nyjer Morgan suspended eight games
Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan will be suspended eight games and will begin serving his suspension Friday when the Nationals begin a three-game series at Philadelphia, according to two baseball sources. The league also fined Morgan $15,000, Morgan said in a phone conversation.
"I'm glad they were able to still hear my side," Morgan said. "The suspension, it's fair in my eyes. I thought the fine was little bit steep. From here, I just have to move on, keep it moving."
Morgan had been appealing two separate suspensions: one seven-game suspension for an incident in which he allegedly exchanged dialogue with a fan and threw a ball in the stands at Citizens Bank Park, and one eight-game suspension for three other separate incidents, including his role in a brawl with the Florida Marlins. The league did not reduce the eight-game suspension but completely threw out the seven-game suspension.
"Mainly, what I'm really happy about is that," Morgan said. "I'm a fan player. When anybody says something about the fans, I get a little disappointed on that one. I'm fans first. I'm just glad to get all this [stuff] over. Now I can focus on doing what I do."
With 16 games remaining in their schedule, Morgan will miss an even half. His replacement in center field will likely be a mix of Willie Harris and Justin Maxwell. The Nationals could also move left fielder Roger Bernadina to center and use Harris and Maxwell in left.
Morgan played in all 12 Nationals games between the day he was suspended and today's official ruling. Morgan went 12 for 44 (.273) with two doubles, three walks and one hit by pitch. He attempted to steal two bases and was caught both times.
Morgan will continue to travel with the Nationals and participate in pregame drills, such as batting practice. He must watch games from somewhere other than the dugout or the clubhouse.
Last Friday, Morgan met with MLB officials, including disciplinarian Bob Watson, at Nationals Park for his appeal hearing. With the decision finally here, Morgan hopes to put the bizarre chain of events behind him.
"Well, now that it's all over with I can move forward," Morgan said. "Try to keep everything positive and just keep trying to play and show the winning attitude."