The Washington Post

Nationals batting practice pitcher sues Phillies, GM Ruben Amaro Jr.

Ali Modami, a Nationals batting practice pitcher last season who previously held the same position with the Philadelphia Phillies, filed a lawsuit against his former employer and their general manager, Ruben Amaro Jr., claiming Amaro defamed him and ruined his job prospects, according to a Philadelphia Daily News report.

Yes, this is a rare occurrence: a member of one team’s coaching staff suing the general manager of another team, let alone a heated rival.

Modami, a left-handed bullpen pitcher whose first year with the Nationals was last season, is seeking a judgment in excess of $100,000, according to the report. He worked for the Phillies from May 2007 until mid-October 2011, when Amaro fired him because he wanted to overhaul the hitting program, according to the report.

The lawsuit says, according to the Daily News, that Modami initially received positive interest from the Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers when he sought employment with them in late 2011. But both teams rejected Modami because, according to the lawsuit cited in the report, Amaro told both team’s general managers that he was fired because he was stealing and selling memorabilia and writing negative things about the Phillies on the Internet — all actions that Modami denies.

One interesting twist, according to the lawsuit cited by the report: Jayson Werth, a former Phillies player, first told Modami what Amaro allegedly said.  And, Davey Lopes, a former Nationals and Phillies first base coach who currently serves in the same role for the Dodgers, first told Modami that Amaro’s statements about him led to him not being hired by Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti, the lawsuit states according to the report.

“We have not been served with the complaint yet so we’re not in a position to comment,” said Phillies spokeswoman Bonnie Clark in an email. “Additionally, it’s the Phillies practice to not comment on pending litigation.”

A Nationals spokesman declined to comment.

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010 and, prior to covering the Nationals, covered high school sports across the region.



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