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Jonathan Papelbon on attacking Bryce Harper: “I’m in the wrong there.”


Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon took blame for his part in an altercation with outfielder Bryce Harper during Sunday’s eventual loss to the Phillies. Per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, Papelbon said, “I’m in the wrong there.”

However, as Janes adds, Papelbon also said that it’s important to “play the game the right way”. Papelbon was ostensibly irritated at Harper for failing to fully run out a fly ball in the bottom of the eighth inning, when the two teams were tied at 4-4.

Insinuating that the team’s best player —  the runaway MVP of the National League who’s putting up an historically-great season — doesn’t know how to “play the game the right way” is questionable at best. It’s even more questionable considering that Papelbon has only been a part of the Nationals’ culture for two months.

Manager Matt Williams didn’t have much to say about the incident. As John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal reported, Williams said, “Certainly there’s a lot of testosterone flowing…This was a family issue, and we’ll deal with it that way.”

On sending Papelbon out to the mound in a 4-4 game immediately after fighting with Harper, Williams said, “It was a tied game. He’s our closer,” via Buzzfeed’s Lindsey Adler.

Marlins give Don Mattingly two-year extension

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The Marlins have announced that they have inked manager Don Mattingly to a two-year contract extensions. There’s a third year in the form of a mutual option.

Mattingly is finishing up the final year of the four-year contract he signed with the Marlins prior to the 2016 season. He’s 272-364 in that period and the club has lost 99 games already this season. The current bad run, however, obviously corresponds with a massive rebuild the team began undertaking following the 2017 season and the team’s change in ownership. Mattingly has not had much to work with over the past two seasons but he has likewise, largely, kept the team on as even a keel as one could hope under the circumstances. He has certainly impressed the Marlins’ brass enough to take the unusual step of keeping on a manager they inherited from a previous ownership and front office group.

In other news, the Marlins also announced a two-year contract extension for shortstop Miguel Rojas valued at $10.25 million. There’s a vesting option for a third year. The deal buys out Rojas’ final year of arbitration eligibility and one year of free agency, plus that option.

Rojas, 30, is hitting .285/.335/.383 (OPS+ 92) this year.