In his usual pre-game press conference, Washington Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman started his remarks about Nyjer Morgan intentionally running into St. Louis Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson by saying, "I don't want to say a whole lot about it," but then spent five minutes talking about it, in no uncertain terms.

I don't normally post transcripts, but I think the Manager's words speak for themselves this morning.

On Morgan not in today's lineup: "Manager's decision to go a different way today."

On Morgan running into the catcher:  "I think it was a culmination of Nyjer's anger brewing from not hitting first, and I think he was just having a day like that where he was upset about some things and did an unprofessional thing, going after the catcher. 

I certainly don't condone that, but we've all made mistakes.  I think that's not Nyjer's style of play to do something like that -- it's totally uncharacteristic.  It just the culmination of the day.

When I called him in and told him I was going to hit him eighth instead of lead-off, I think that it was just building up all day -- I think he thought I was wearing that [catcher's] equipment there at homeplate.

I think that had a lot to do with it.  I'm sorry it happened, I apologized to Tony [LaRussa], I apologized to Bryan Anderson.  The apology was accepted.  As I said, it's totally uncharacteristic of Nyjer.

On Morgan refusing to talk about the incident after the game:  "He'll get over it."

On whether Morgan thought he needed to go through the catcher to score: "No.  It was totally inexcusable.  Like I said, you've never seen that before from him.  You'll never see it again. 

It's a mistake, and I can't minimize it.  If I take the approach there's nothing wrong with it, then we're going to get people hurt on the field.  There's gotta be retaliation.  If Nyjer was playing today he'd get hit.  If an opposing player did that to my catcher and he came to the plate he'd get hit. 

It's never happened before and it's not going to happen again."

10 comments

  1. Anonymous // August 29, 2010 at 12:09 PM  

    great post, Riggs was really not happy with Tony P. I really liked Nyjer last year, but somehow his actions this season have disallusioned me. Too many caught off firsts, throw ins to wrong bases, wrong angles to fly balls are outweighing his good plays. I'm almost hopping MLB sits him for the full 7 games.

  2. Dave Nichols // August 29, 2010 at 12:14 PM  

    Anon, thanks for the comment. at this point, i'd be surprised if Riggleman wouldn't mind seeing Morgan sit for a week either.

  3. MikeHarris // August 29, 2010 at 12:16 PM  

    Didn't like eighth? I wonder how he likes nowhere?

    Willingham, Bernadina, Morse. I'll take that next year. Except Morse will be a first after the blow it with Dunn.

    I hate to see it but it seems Milledge-Morgan ended up being your head case for mine.

  4. Dave Nichols // August 29, 2010 at 12:37 PM  

    Mike, I don't think we've had a manager call out a player like this in DC since Frank got Tomo Okha canned for flipping him the ball on the mound. You know how much Riggs respects TLR and for his player to do this in front of TLR and for Riggs to apologize says how embarrassed he was about this.

  5. Souldrummer // August 29, 2010 at 1:01 PM  

    Great post. Very, very hard for anyone to defend Nyjer after his play the last couple of days. You hope that there's some stuff behind the scenes that's being addressed but we've been saying that for awhile now.

    Ian Desmond had to bat 8th for awhile when he was less than comfortable about it. He didn't say anything about it until he had gotten an opportunity to hit second and shown what he could do in that spot.

    Nyjer does not seem to realize that he is getting a first and potentially last opportunity to show that he be a better than Juan Pierre CF with his particular skill set. Sadly, lack of professionalism seems to be likely to crater this opportunity.

  6. Dave Nichols // August 29, 2010 at 1:19 PM  

    SD: agree completely. Morgan's talent level isn't nearly enough to put up with the constant mental mistakes and petulance. some fans are still clouded by his play for six weeks last season, but that period remains the outlier in his career.

  7. Princess Jazzy // August 29, 2010 at 1:37 PM  

    Quite frankly, I hope Rizzo finds another solution in CF next season. I liked Nyjer at first, but his erratic behavior and lack of baseball I.Q. has been a real negative for the team.

    Perhaps he can turn things around, but from what I've seen this season, he seems to pout too much and it gets in the way of his performance on the field.

  8. Matt // August 29, 2010 at 3:12 PM  

    I'm not going to be a Morgan defender, but he's been having a very rough season, and I think we should all empathize with his frustration a bit.

    He had a long stretch when he wasn't hitting in part due to an abnormally low BABIP and some fielding mistakes which he seems to be as upset about as any of us are. Then he got a (at least based on the information about the incident which I have) very harsh suspension for a questionable offense. After all that, now it appears his team is doubting him and dropping him in the order. If that was my past year at work, I'd be pretty frustrated too. Doesn't make hitting the catcher acceptable (Rigg's punishment is right on in my book), but it does make it understandable.

    Nyjer makes a lot of stupid mistakes, and may not be as good as we all thought, but I have no doubt he's better than what we've been seeing this season. I think if he can't pull it together soon, the organization may need to move on, but I think we should all recognize how sad that will be for Morgan and for the organization.

    Hopefully he gets himself straightened out and has a good month to end the season.

  9. Anonymous // August 30, 2010 at 11:04 AM  

    Morgan makes plays in CF that no other current Nat can make. He is improving as a base runner. He definitely plays with all-out enthusiasm that is sometimes lacking in other players on the team. He continues to make too many immature decisions. I think we have to accept that they aren't going to end; they are part of his personality and they are how he plays the game. With his On-base Percentage, he probably belongs at 8th in the lineup. But, at least as this point, I think he is fun to watch. His positives outweigh his negatives.

  10. Rick Johnson // August 30, 2010 at 11:54 AM  

    Nyjer must understand that September is his last chance to stay with this club: Willingham is out, and there's simply no excuse good enough for playing Willie Harris every day. Willingham in left, Bernadina in center, and Morse in right looks really good right now to most Nats fans, and Nyjer needs to give us a reason why we're better with him in the lineup rather than out of it.

    I fell in love with Nyjer's play last season, too, just like most other Nats fans. But for all the reasons everyone already knows of (most crucially, his way-too-low OBP), I have a hard time justifying his continued presence in the everyday lineup.

    Prove us wrong, Nyjer: play great baseball in September, and convince us why you should be in center field rather than Roger.