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Nationals broadcaster F.P. Santangelo returns to the MASN booth

F.P. Santangelo had been off the air since late April. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

F.P. Santangelo returned to the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network broadcast booth to call the Washington Nationals’ matchup with the San Diego Padres on Friday night.

Santangelo, who has provided color commentary on Nationals broadcasts on MASN since 2011, had been absent since late April, after he was accused of sexual misconduct in an anonymous Instagram post. A Major League Baseball investigation couldn’t corroborate the allegations against Santangelo, according to people familiar with the situation.

“The Commissioner’s Office and MASN have reviewed the anonymous claim made against F.P. Santangelo,” a MASN spokesman said in a statement Friday night, issued during the Nationals-Padres game. “MLB and MASN have found no evidence that Mr. Santangelo violated the terms of his contractor agreement, league, or network regulations, nor is there more evidence currently available to us to collect. Accordingly, Mr. Santangelo’s credentials have been restored and he resumed performing his duties tonight.”

A statement from a Nationals spokeswoman referenced the conclusion of MLB’s and MASN’s review of the allegations: “We were informed that MLB and MASN had completed a review of Mr. Santangelo, and that MASN would be returning him to his broadcast duties today.”

To begin Friday’s broadcast, Santangelo sat with Dan Kolko, who was filling in for usual play-by-play announcer Bob Carpenter. Carpenter’s absence was planned by MASN and the Nationals, giving him a few extra days off after the all-star break. Kolko thanked Justin Maxwell for helping out during Santangelo’s absence, but Santangelo’s return was lightly acknowledged before he shifted his attention to the game.

“It’s great to be back. I’m fired up for the second half,” Santangelo said. “This team is going to get healthy and go on an epic run.”

Santangelo is employed by MASN, which asked him about the allegations when it learned of them. Santangelo denied wrongdoing, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. He also has denied the allegations publicly.

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Although Santangelo is not an MLB employee, MASN asked MLB for investigative help. MLB has its own department of investigations, which handles allegations against players, and it offered it to MASN to assist in this one.

The Nationals have distanced themselves from Santangelo throughout the process, going so far as to turn him away from the stadium in early May. In the aftermath, in which MASN and the Nationals traded statements, the network suggested the team was rushing to judgment by revoking its approval to have Santangelo broadcast its games.

“MASN takes any such allegation seriously, which is why we immediately notified MLB,” a MASN spokesman said in a statement at the time. “Especially when dealing with anonymous and uncorroborated allegations, due process to protect the privacy of all involved is critical. That’s why it was so surprising that the Nationals would be so public in their accusations, even as MLB continues its investigation.”

Jesse Dougherty and Ben Strauss contributed to this report.