Morgan calls season a "learning year"

Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan said Thursday he is ready to learn from his mistakes and move on. Morgan found himself embroiled in controversy over a two week stretch in late August which culminated on Sept 1 with an on field brawl at Sun Life Stadium in Miami. League officials lightened Morgan's suspension to eight games on Thursday afternoon after his appeal, a decision he thought was "fair."

"I definitely learned so much, not just from this incident but the whole year," Morgan said. "It was a very interesting year and I let some things get in the part of my game where I shouldn't have."

Entering Friday's action against the Phillies, Morgan is hitting .258 this season with a .318 on base percentage. He has 33 stolen bases, but he's been caught stealing 17 times. Though he improved a bit after the All-Star break, his numbers are a noticeable drop from the somewhat unsustainable first impression he gave Washington in late 2009, when he hit .351 with a .396 OBP and 24 stolen bases in just 49 games.

"It wasn't a great year, but it wasn't a bad year," he said. "That's why I have to take it as a learning year. Sometimes in this game, you gotta fail to succeed."

Morgan turned 30 in July, but it's only his fourth season in the big leagues. He's confident that he can learn from various mistakes he's made this season and head into spring training with a better sense of what he needs to do to be consistent and have success at this level, as well as how to channel and use his energy in positive ways.

"As long as I can just understand and learn from my mistakes and learn from the things I've done this year, I can just take those things and use them as positive influences," he continued.

He's quick to point to Nationals fans, or Nats Nation as he likes to refer to it, for being supportive and patient with him through a difficult year. Morgan thrives on fan interaction and says Nationals fans are always a positive influence for him.

"I apologize to the fans that they didn't get the Tony Plush they are used to seeing and for some of the things that I've went through this year. But I thank them for being positive towards me and for being in my corner."

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