Manager Jim Riggleman took outfielder Nyjer Morgan out of Sunday’s lineup against the Cardinals for going after catcher Bryan Anderson at home plate during Saturday’s 14-5 romp over St. Louis.
Riggleman said it was manager’s decision to keep Morgan out of the lineup today and felt that Morgan’s anger got the best of him last night. He said Morgan was upset all day Saturday because he was placed eighth in the batting order.
“I think it was a culmination of Nyjer’s anger brewing for not hitting first. He was just having a day like that where he was upset about some things,” said Riggleman.
“He did an unprofessional thing. He went after their catcher. I do not condone that. We all make mistakes. That is not his style of play, it was totally uncharacteristic of Nyjer.”
Riggleman said Morgan’s actions at the plate were “totally inexcusable.”
“It was building up all day. I think he thought I was wearing that equipment at home plate.”
Riggleman said that Morgan would get hit today by the opposing pitcher for going out of the base paths and lowering his shoulder into Anderson before the ball had arrived at the plate.
Morgan failed to touch home plate and was pushed back to home by Ivan Rodriguez. He was eventually called out for getting that assist.
Riggleman said he apologized to St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa and Anderson following the game. The apology was accepted.
Morgan said he saw the play differently from his vantage point.
“It definitely wasn’t intentional. I was coming around third and I looked at (Albert) Pujols and he gave a good arm fake,” recollected Morgan.
“It is not my style to play dirty. I don’t play that. From what I heard I guess took my frustrations out on the catcher. I barely even grazed the catcher.
“It wasn’t like I was trying to go out there and intentionally set foot and hurt somebody just because of my position in the batting order. It was just more of the fact of I saw something, it was an arm fake and it got me.”
Morgan was disappointed when he found out about his benching for the series finale.
“It sucks. It definitely sucks. We got to do what’s good for the team. I don’t want to come off as selfish,” says Morgan.
“I don’t want to be the guy instigating things. In some people’s eyes its been a long seven days for myself with the Philly incident. It comes with the territory of being in this position.
“I have to be able to handle what I am able to do. If (Riggleman) feels like this is what he needs to do, he can go ahead and do it.”