Nyjer Morgan charges mound, incites brawl in Florida

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The same player who threw a ball at a fan in Philadelphia in mid-August, steamrolled an unsuspecting Cardinals backup catcher last week, and gave Marlins catcher Brett Hayes a dislocated shoulder on Tuesday night with a ridiculous hockey-like check at home plate is back at it again.

Nationals outfielder Nyjer Morgan started a benches-clearing clearing brawl on Wednesday night at the Marlins’ Sun
Life Stadium when he charged the mound after Florida right-hander Chris
Volstad threw behind him in the sixth inning. 

Morgan was hit by a Volstad pitch earlier in the night that served as retaliation for his cheap shot on Hayes, but the Fish took exception again when he stole second base and stole third base in a blowout. 

He headed straight toward Volstad after the pitch whizzed by him in the sixth, threw a punch to the pitcher’s face, then was clothes-lined by Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez. 

Volstad got a few grazing shots in on Morgan before Nationals third base coach Pat Listach jumped on the right-hander and held him to the ground.  Listach, while mostly serving as a peacemaker, is sure to see some discipline from Major League Baseball for interfering so violently with a player scuffle. 

Morgan was ejected and screamed at the fans in south Florida before making his exit, pumping his chest in pride.  Volstad was also tossed and is likely to be handed a lengthy suspension.

The Marlins have a series in D.C. in mid-September that should feature even more fireworks.

Leonys Martin feared for his life from alleged human traffickers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Leonys Martin #12 of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.

Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.

Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.

Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.

Josh Hamilton leaves camp with a tweaked knee

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers poses during a spring training photo shoot on February 28, 2016 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.

As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.

You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.