08/29/10 2:30 PM ET
Nats put Morgan-Anderson contact behind
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
Anderson, who had his back toward Morgan, didn't have the ball.
The Nationals put the game out of reach during a six-run inning off former Washington closer Mike MacDougal, with Willie Harris' two-run double and Roger Bernadina's two-run homer highlighting the output.
Harris' hit should have been a bases-clearing knock, but third-base umpire Angel Hernandez called Morgan out, because a live baserunner cannot be touched or aided by a teammate or coach. Ivan Rodriguez pushed Morgan back to home plate when Morgan missed the plate while trying to knock Anderson down.
The replay showed there wasn't a need for Morgan to touch Anderson, because the ball wasn't close to the plate.
"It was totally inexcusable," Riggleman said. "It was a mistake. I can't minimize it. If I take the approach that there is nothing wrong it, then we are going to get people hurt on the field. It has never happened before and it will not happen again."
Riggleman believed Morgan wasn't thinking because he was angry that he was hitting eighth in the lineup. Morgan, who was out of the lineup Sunday, usually leads off.
"He was upset about some things and did an unprofessional thing -- he went after the catcher," Riggleman said. "I certainly don't condone that. We have all made mistakes. I don't think that is Nyjer's style of play to do something like that. Maybe he thought I was there with that equipment at the plate. I think [hitting eighth] had a lot to do with it."
Said La Russa, "[Morgan] had a brain cramp. I appreciate the way they handled it. They handled it internally, and they made it clear to us that it was a mistake. The Nats did what they had to do to defuse it. Guys make mistakes. I made it a point not to say anything after the game. I didn't say a word."
Morgan, who said he thought there was going to be a play at the plate, admitted that he was fooled by Albert Pujols' arm fake toward home plate.
"I got fooled by the arm fake and then I saw the catcher get ready to load up," Morgan said. "It looked like he was getting ready to start defending himself. If there is a next time, I guess I will slide. I don't want it to look like I'm trying to hurt somebody."
Harris, Bernadina get starts in series finale
WASHINGTON -- Manager Jim Riggleman decided to give center fielder Nyjer Morgan the day off against Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright on Sunday. Instead, Riggleman put Roger Bernadina in center and Willie Harris in right.
"It's a manager's decision to just go a different way today," Riggleman said. "Nyjer is playing fine, but Bernie is playing well . We have to keep Willie in there. He has had some big at-bats lately. He hits a home run [Friday] and has a bases-loaded double [Saturday]. I have to find a way to keep him in there."
The news came a day after Morgan hit eighth in the lineup. Morgan made it known that he was not happy about hitting eighth or being benched for Sunday's game.
"I guess we have to do what is good for the team," Morgan said. "I don't want to come off selfish. It has been a long seven days. It comes with the territory being in this position. If [Riggleman] thinks I'm playing bad baseball, I'm playing bad baseball."
TV analyst Dibble won't make road trip
WASHINGTON -- TV analyst Rob Dibble will not go on the Nationals' six-day road trip that starts Monday against the Marlins.
Dibble was expected to return to the Nationals' booth on Saturday, but he was a no-show for Saturday and Sunday's game between Washington and St. Louis.
Through their representatives, the Nationals and the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network said Dibble was not suspended. He asked for a few days off starting Wednesday, and it was granted.
The news on Wednesday came after Dibble, on his XM Radio show, criticized right-hander Stephen Strasburg for not playing with injuries. Strasburg is currently on the disabled list and will need 12 to 18 months to recover from anticipated Tommy John surgery.
With Dibble not in the booth, Ray Knight will be the color commentator on the road, while Phil Wood does the pregame and postgame shows. There isn't a timetable for Dibble's return to the booth.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. Reporter Matthew Leach contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.