Washington Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon was handed a three game suspension in addition to a fine after being ejected from a game earlier this week. The ejection came after the umpire determined he had intentionally hit Baltimore Orioles third basemen Manny Machado with a pitch after Machado had earlier hit a two-run home run to give the Orioles the 4-3 lead. That home run ultimately proved to be the game winner, according to Steven Laks from Outside Pitch.
Papelbon was ejected by home plate umpire Mark Ripperger after Papelbon’s first pitch missed high and tight, his second pitch a curveball, and the third pitch, a fastball, hit Machado in the upper arm.
Machado didn’t hide his displeasure when commenting on the incident to ESPN.
“When you throw at somebody’s head on purpose, first pitch, straight out the get-go, then you throw a curveball, then you throw again at the head, that’s just bulls**t. It’s coward stuff. It’s just coward.”
The Nationals announced that Papelbon has appealed the suspension and Nats manager Matt Williams has stated that he will continue to use Papelbon in his normal role until such punishment is handed down.
“We’ll deal with it when that time comes, when that game comes, if it comes, and go from there.”
Papelbon, who was traded from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Nationals in July, offered no apology or denial when asked about the matter, and his lack of contrition could play a part in the MLB Commissioner’s office’s decision regarding his appeal.
“If Manny thinks I hit him, then that’s what he thinks. I’m not going to sit here and go back and forth whether I did or whether I didn’t, because it doesn’t matter. If he thinks I did, that’s what he thinks. They just said they deemed it intentional, and they didn’t give me any reason. I don’t know if they have to give me any reason or not, but perception is reality.”
Papelbon has appeared in 20 games for the Nationals since the trade and has a 2-1 record, a 2.49 earned run average, seven saves, 15 strikeouts and one walk in 21 2/3 innings pitched. Papelbon is 4-2 with a 1.91 ERA, 24 saves, 55 strikeouts and nine walks in 61 1/3 innings pitched for the season. Prior to signing with the Phillies, Papelbon spent his first seven seasons in the majors with the Boston Red Sox, where he established himself as one of the game’s dominant and premier closers.
[Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images]