Washington Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon will be out the rest of the season after his dugout fight with teammate Bryce Harper — four games because of a team suspension for that episode and three games because he dropped his appeal of a Major League Baseball ban for throwing at an opponent’s head last week.
Nationals Manager Matt Williams said Harper, a leading National league most-valuable-player contender, was held out of the starting lineup for Monday’s home finale against Cincinnati for “his part in the altercation” with Papelbon on Sunday.
Harper, though, said after Sunday’s game that he was scheduled to be off Monday.
“It’s been a very difficult 24 hours for the organization,” Williams said at his pregame news conference, which started 1 1/2 hours later than scheduled. “Incidents like that in the dugout [are] not the way we want to play our games.”
On Wednesday, Papelbon plunked Baltimore star Manny Machado and was ejected; Harper called the hit-by-pitch “tired” and worried aloud about whether the Orioles would retaliate by beaning him. MLB announced a three-game suspension but Papelbon appealed, allowing him to continue playing.
That suspension began Monday and ends Wednesday; the team suspension starts Thursday.
Williams said he does not expect Papelbon to be with the Nationals on their season-ending trip that begins Tuesday in Atlanta, then finishes at the New York Mets.
Mariners hire Dipoto as GM
The Seattle Mariners have found their new general manager, announcing Monday that they have hired former Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto.
He replaces Jack Zduriencik, who was fired in late August after seven disappointing seasons during which the club failed to end its playoff drought. With the Toronto Blue Jays making the postseason this year, the Mariners now have the longest playoff absence in baseball at 14 years and counting.
Dipoto’s job will be to end that playoff drought and continue rebuilding a farm system that had highs and lows during Zduriencik’s tenure. Dipoto was the Angels’ general manager for 3 1/2 years before resigning on July 1 following clashes with Manager Mike Scioscia that began the first year they worked together.
He’s been working as a consultant for the Boston Red Sox since mid-August.
Dipoto’s first job in Seattle will be deciding the future of Manager Lloyd McClendon. Mariners team President Kevin Mather said on the day Zduriencik was fired that McClendon was under contract through 2016, but that the decision on a field manager would be up to the new GM.
Tulowitzki could return this week
Toronto shortstop Troy Tulowitzki tested his injured shoulder by taking batting practice Monday and expects to return in time for the postseason.
Tulowitzki hasn’t played since Sept. 12, when he cracked his scapula and bruised muscles in his upper back after colliding with teammate Kevin Pillar in a game against the Yankees.
After taking between 30 and 40 swings, Tulowitzki said, “Hitting is the last thing. This is pretty much the first time I have hit live.”
Manager John Gibbons says Tulowitzki could return sometime this week.