Jason Marquis starting five-game suspension tonight

SAN DIEGO - Though he continues to insist he did not hit Arizona’s Justin Upton on purpose Sunday, and still believes he did nothing to warrant a five-game suspension from Major League Baseball, Nationals right-hander Jason Marquis has dropped his appeal of the suspension. He’ll begin serving it tonight.

Marquis, who allowed a run in six innings last night, was scheduled to pitch Thursday against the Cardinals. Instead, John Lannan will pitch there - and because the Nationals have an off-day Monday, Lannan can make the start on regular rest while Marquis pitches with two extra days of rest.

That, more than anything else, was the reason for Marquis dropping his appeal now, much like Jerry Hairston Jr. did the other day. The Nationals are set up to deal with it now because of their off-day, and if Marquis were to lose an appeal hearing, it might come at a time where the Nationals don’t have as much flexibility with their schedule.

“You’ve got to put the team first, and the way everybody’s throwing the ball, I didn’t want to mess that up for everybody,” Marquis said. “That was really the main reason behind the decision. I’m still adamant I’m not that type of pitcher. I did not throw at him on purpose. But sometimes you’ve got to suck it up for the betterment of the team. I’ll serve it and move on.”