The quotes out of the Nationals’ clubhouse on Tuesday night, after Nyjer Morgan barreled into Marlins catcher Brett Hayes in the 10th inning, were all supportive of the outfielder. Manager Jim Riggleman said he didn’t have a problem with Morgan’s decision; the outfielder himself said he believed he would have gotten hurt if he’d tried to slide; and similarly, his teammates said Morgan didn’t have many options.
There’s not much point beating this horse much further - it appeared to me like Morgan came around third with his mind made up to go full-bore into home plate, and he might have left himself room to slide with a better approach. But Hayes was blocking the plate, so while I still think Morgan could have slid, you can make the case why he didn’t.
The quotes out of the Marlins’ clubhouse, though, didn’t suggest they’re ready to let this go.
Chad Tracy, who had the game-winning hit in the 10th, referenced Morgan’s collision with Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson last Saturday. Rightly or wrongly, a correlation can be drawn between the two plays - though Morgan said he fell for Albert Pujols’ pump fake toward home last Saturday and believed he needed to knock the ball loose then, too.
I would say it was clean if I hadn’t seen what he had done earlier,” Tracy told reporters in Miami. “I think he would have had a better chance to be safe if he was sliding. It fires you up when you see the way he’s been playing the last week or so. We were upset.”
Riggleman held Morgan out of Sunday’s game because he believed the Cardinals might drill the center fielder. If Morgan plays tonight, he might find another team wanting to do the same thing.