Hitting coach Jacque Jones has been suspended indefinitely. (Lynne Sladky/Associated Press)

Shortly before the National League Division Series began Friday night, the Washington Nationals announced assistant hitting coach Jacque Jones has been suspended with pay. The suspension is indefinite, pending a team investigation into a legal matter. The team would say no more about the matter, which marks its first off-field trouble of the 2017 season — at the worst possible moment.

“That was kind of a downer before the game because you know, he’s a big part of the team,” Dusty Baker said after Friday’s loss to the Cubs. “I don’t know if that had anything to do with [the loss], but it was a bit of a downer, and we hope that things subside and work themselves out.”

A search of court records revealed a civil case filed Sept. 28 in which an unnamed plaintiff filed suit against Jones and the Washington Nationals in California Superior Court, San Diego County. That plaintiff, known in the case filings as Jane Doe, alleges Jones “had photos of Plaintiff’s naked breasts,” “promised her that the photos would be kept between them,” and that “after their relationship ended, Jones intentionally distributed the photos without Plaintiff’s consent.” The suit alleges that the plaintiff suffered “general and special damages” from the distribution of those pictures.

In Jones’s absence, minor league hitting coordinator Troy Gingrich will assume assistant hitting coach duties, with Rick Schu carrying out his normal duties as hitting coach. Jones has been with the Nationals since the beginning of the 2016 season.

Researcher Alice Crites contributed to this report.

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