LaRoche appreciates Riggleman's support

LaRoche appreciates Riggleman's support

VIERA, Fla. -- A day after watching his team in a scuffle with the Cardinals, Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche was impressed by how his manager, Jim Riggleman, went about protecting his team.

Tempers flared during the Nationals' 7-2 victory over the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium on Monday afternoon.

In seventh inning, with one out and Washington leading, 4-2, Cardinals right-hander and former Nationals pitcher Miguel Batista hit shortstop Ian Desmond with a pitch. After he was hit, Desmond looked to home-plate umpire Fran Burke, wanting an explanation as to why he was hit. Both benches emptied, but no punches were thrown.

The two teams scuffled for about 15 minutes, with Riggleman and Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa having a few words.

After the game ended, several Nats players thanked Riggleman for supporting them.

"For what we are trying to do, with the direction of this club, it was the absolute best thing that everybody could have seen," LaRoche said. "To see a manager not only come out and protect his players and keep his players from being thrown out of the game, there was nothing fake about it. Jim was really angry. Protecting your guys is the best way to gain that respect in a hurry. You can't say enough about that."

There is no word on whether any members of the Nationals will be fined or suspended.