No need for three strikes! The Washington Nationals have suspended closer Jonathan Papelbon for four games after he attacked his teammate Bryce Harper in their dugout on Sunday, Sept. 27.
The relief pitcher, 34, and Harper, 22, got into a heated argument after the Nats’ star player made an out during the eighth inning of their game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The athletes exchanged words before Papelbon lunged for Harper’s throat and shoved him against the wall. Their teammates and coaches then jumped into action and pulled them off of each other.
After the altercation, Papelbon was allowed to return to the mound to pitch the ninth inning — much to fans’ disappointment. He exited to boos not long after.
“The behavior exhibited by Papelbon yesterday is not acceptable,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement on Monday, via ESPN. “That is not at all in line with the way our players are expected to conduct themselves and the Nationals organization will not tolerate it in any way.”
In addition, manager Matt Williams said that Harper would not be on the team’s Monday lineup for their match against the Cincinnati Reds. He said: “We’ll do our best to move past this incident and move beyond that.”
Indeed, while fans’ anger remained after the game, Papelbon and Harper were ready to put the fight behind them. “It’s squashed and it’s good, we’ve moved on,” Papelbon said on Sunday. “I grew up with brothers, he grew up with brothers, I view him as a brother. And sometimes in this game, there’s a lot of testosterone and things spill over.”
Harper added: “He apologized, so whatever. I really don’t care. It’s like brothers fighting. That’s what happens.”
Watch the crazy fight above!
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