BALTIMORE - Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said he contacted MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre immediately after a verbal altercation with umpires following the Nationals' 1-0 loss to the New York Mets on Thursday. Rizzo declined to answer most questions about what happened, saying the investigation is ongoing, but added it "had absolutely nothing to do with the play at first base in the ninth inning." He also said Torre told him MLB was not conducting "an investigation against Mike Rizzo.
"This is an investigation of what happened last night after the game," he said.
Rizzo would not say what caused the situation to escalate, and did not have a timetable as to when MLB might finish its investigation.
A report in the New York Daily News yesterday said MLB umpires filed a complaint against Rizzo after Thursday's game, which the Nationals lost 1-0. A Nationals source confirmed an MLB.com report that Rizzo and manager Jim Riggleman were trying to separate catcher Ivan Rodriguez from umpires after the game, as Rodriguez continued an argument that started when he went onto the infield warning track to argue as the game ended.
The Nationals' frustration boiled over after first-base umpire Phil Cuzzi called Jayson Werth out on a grounder to third base in the ninth inning, despite replays that showed Werth beat the ball to first base and that third baseman Justin Turner's throw pulled first baseman Daniel Murphy off the bag.
Werth leapt behind first base in disbelief, and Riggleman came out of the dugout, first to argue with Cuzzi and then to ask home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez for a review of the call. The call stood, and instead of having a runner on third with one out, the Nationals had two outs, and the game ended on Adam LaRoche's ensuing groundout.
"My job is to stick up for the whole organization," Rizzo said. "I've always got the manager's, the coaches' and the players' back, and whenever I need to put myself on the line to do so, that's my job, so I'm going to do it."