Morgan making amends, invites Phillies fan to game

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Nationals outfielder Nyjer Morgan is currently serving an eight-game suspension for a string of violent and unsportsmanlike acts that culminated with a benches-clearing brawl on September 1 at the Marlins’ Sun Life Stadium.  Those incidents tarnished his image somewhat in the public eye, and he’s hoping to make things right.

Morgan was excused from a seven-game punishment for accidentally throwing a ball at a fan at Philadelphia’s Citizen Bank Park in mid-August, but he contacted that fan this week anyway and invited him to Sunday’s Nationals vs. Phillies game. 

According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Morgan gave the fan a free ticket behind the Nats’ dugout in Philly and a pregame field pass.

He declined to talk to the media about the generous gesture, a hint that it probably was sincere.

Morgan, 30, is batting .258/.318/.318 this season with 23 RBI and 33 stolen bases in 128 games this season.  He has been watching games from the Nationals’ general manager box with Mike Rizzo and  is eligible to return to the club’s starting lineup on September 25.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.