The Nationals were officially eliminated from postseason play on Saturday when the Mets beat the Reds in Cincinnati to clinch the NL East title. On Sunday, things in Washington went from bad to worse.
Bryce Harper began exchanging words with Jonathan Papelbon on his way back into the Nationals’ dugout after a lazy flyout to left field in the bottom of the eighth inning. The two then had a physical confrontation, with multiple Nationals players and coaches having to step in to break it up.
Papelbon was the one who made it physical. This picture shows him putting Harper, the soon-to-be NL MVP, into a chokehold …
The full scene, via MLB.com …
[mlbvideo id=”505505983″ width=”640″ height=”360″ /]
Harper was removed from the 4-4 game by Nationals manager Matt Williams. Papelbon came back out for the top of the ninth after securing the final out in the top of the eighth. He allowed a two-run homer to Andres Blanco in the ninth, giving the last-place Phillies a 6-4 lead at Nationals Park.
Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.
The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”
Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.
Now, however, Kopech has opted out.