Nationals outfielder Nyjer Morgan reacted with surprise after being handed an eight-game suspension for a series of incidents this week.
On Wednesday night, during a 16-10 loss to the Marlins, Morgan charged the mound in the sixth inning and threw a punch at Marlins right-hander Chris Volstad, who threw a pitch behind the left-handed hitter. It marked the second time Volstad threw a pitch at Morgan. Two innings earlier, Volstad hit Morgan in the lower back. Morgan went on to steal two bases in the inning even though Washington was down, 14-3.
"Man, they threw the book at me." Morgan said "What did I do? I feel I haven't done anything. I knocked over a catcher ... they threw the ball at me. Come on, what am I supposed to do? I have to take this and try to keep playing."
The Marlins had a problem with Morgan dating back to Tuesday's game, when he barreled into catcher Brett Hayes, who suffered a separated shoulder on the play.
Morgan was also disciplined for two other incidents. He made inappropriate comments toward the Marlins fans during the 10th inning on Tuesday. Morgan acknowledged that he did make inappropriate comments.
Last Saturday against the Cardinals, it looked like Willie Harris' hit a bases-clearing knock, but third-base umpire Angel Hernandez called Morgan out, because a live baserunner cannot be touched or aided by a teammate or coach. Ivan Rodriguez pushed Morgan back to home plate when Morgan missed the plate while trying to knock down the Cardinals' Bryan Anderson.
The replay showed there wasn't a need for Morgan to touch Anderson, because the ball wasn't close to the plate.
"It was totally inexcusable," manager Jim Riggleman said last Sunday. "It was a mistake. I can't minimize it. If I take the approach that there is nothing wrong it, then we are going to get people hurt on the field. It has never happened before and it will not happen again."
Riggleman believed Morgan might have been harboring some anger over hitting eighth in the lineup after spending most of the season as the lead-off hitter.
The eight-game suspension does not include the seven-game suspension he received last week for hitting a fan with a thrown ball at Citizens Bank Park.
Morgan, who wasn't aware of the latest suspension until told over the phone in an interview with MLB.com, is planning to appeal both rulings. His hearing was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but it was pushed back to next Friday, a few hours before the Nationals play the Marlins.
"I feel I haven't done anything wrong except for playing the game hard and play the game like it supposed to be played," Morgan said. "Wow. I don't know what else to say. I don't think you should be suspended for hitting a catcher. ... I don't understand what I did wrong to get an eight-game suspension."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.