On the same day the Washington Nationals made a change at the top of their lineup, sliding Ian Desmond down to seventh and moving Danny Espinosa to the top of the order, the man who formerly held that place returned to Nationals Park.
Nyjer Morgan, the outspoken and at times controversial outfielder who spent part of 2009 and 2010 with the Washington Nationals was back in town with his new team, the Milwaukee Brewers, where he was traded in late March.
Morgan has not been quiet since being dealt, saying to ESPN Radio in Milwaukee that it felt good to be “in a baseball city,” and joking he had not been on a three-game win streak “in about two years now, so that feels unbelievable.” Another report indicated Morgan believed a confrontation with Nationals star Jayson Werth was the reason he was traded.
On Friday, Morgan, who has hit.476/.522/.762 in 21 at bats in Milwaukee, opted not to add even more to the conversation.
“I got nothing to say,” he said.
Morgan’s stay in D.C. opened with promise, as the high-energy center fielder provided an immediate spark, hitting .351/.396/.435 over two months. His personality, including a ‘Tony Plush’ persona, made him a fan favorite.
In 2010, however, Morgan sputtered early after an injury in spring training and struggled to produce. Meanwhile, he earned suspensions for his role in a brawl against the Florida Marlins in August, then earned a suspension for throwing a ball into the stands – though that was overturned. Morgan again was involved in controversy after running over St. Louis Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson.
Morgan did not appear to have any interactions with his former teammates down on the field before the game. But when asked if he’d qualify Morgan’s time with Washington as a “disappointment,” Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman offered nothing but praise about his former player before the game.
“If you get a good effort from a player to me I cant put the word disappointment next to anybody’s name,” Riggleman said. “Nyjer played hard, he went hard every day out there. In ’09 it was unbelievable the way he sparked us, in the year ’10 I really, I talked a little about it yesterday, I think he got out of the blocks not so great with the leg injury he had in spring training and now he’s playing catch-up. It just never worked. But every day he played he ran hard, he prepared hard, he did his work before the game religiously. So I can’t be disappointed in that. He gave us a great effort.”