Sep 27, 2015, 8:31 PM EDT
It was just four days ago that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon found himself in the middle of a suspension-worthy altercation, the result of plunking Orioles third baseman Manny Machado near the head during Wednesday’s 4-3 loss.
But after Sunday’s melee with his own teammate, NL MVP candidate Bryce Harper, might the 34-year-old reliever receive another punishment — this time from his own club?
“We haven’t spoken about that yet,” Nats manager Matt Williams said after the game. “We just got done with [postgame festivities], we’ll speak about that.”
Papelbon, who appealed Major League Baseball’s decision to suspend him for three games, was contrite in his postgame comments with reporters, saying that he spoke to Harper after the incident to clear up the issue. Still, the 10-year veteran was asked whether or not he believes the club will discipline him for this latest episode.
“No, I don’t,” Papelbon said. “But we’ll handle that all in-house. That’s something that will stay within the team and not [the media].”
Whether the “in-house” way of handling it is a fine, a suspension or some other punitive action is unknown at this point. But in less than a week, Papelbon has twice shown that he’s not averse to resorting to violence, something that certainly hasn’t gone over well with the home fans who booed him mercilessly Sunday as he imploded in the ninth inning.
Papelbon contends that occasional in-fighting within a clubhouse is normal for any team, however unpleasant it may be in the moment. But given all that’s happened with him recently, it’s fair to wonder if the Nats’ decision makers feel the same way.
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