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Benches clear, managers have words

Mar 21, 2011, 10:41 PM EST

Associated Press photo
Tony La Russa and Ian Desmond bark at each other during today’s game.

JUPITER, Fla. — Bench-clearing incidents are rare events in spring training, but we saw one today at Roger Dean Stadium after three batters were plunked in a span of two innings.

No punches were thrown, but Jim Riggleman and Tony La Russa (longtime baseball friends and former co-workers) had some serious words for each other.

What precipitated all this, and what did everyone have to say afterward? Check out my full story on

  1. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 21, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    OK, I know he's a terrible baserunner, and not much of a leadoff hitter, but Nyjer reminds me of guys I used to know. You can't appreciate him on normal terms. That isn't always appropriate, either, but in this case, I like the kid. First out of the dugout…I don't know that I want him in center for the Nationals, but I want him on my team.

  2. Joe Seamhead - Mar 21, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    Hey, the Nats beat the Cards. I'm booking playoff tix!

  3. JayB - Mar 21, 2011 at 11:37 PM

    Not me…I want him gone…this is just a time bomb waiting to go off….Rizzo has to be smarter than this…I think he starts the year at AAA to save face for Rizzo but as soon as someone will trade a bag of balls for him in June he is gone.And yes I understand this likely was not his fault…this time…in the mirco sense but in the larger view….this was all caused by Morgan and it is all bad.

  4. raymitten - Mar 21, 2011 at 11:40 PM

    I was at the game. It was ridiculous, and clearly intentional by the Cardinals. They also threw at Brian Bixler's head twice. What did LaRoche do? I missed that one…

  5. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 11:43 PM

    And I want JayB gone from these blogs. But as the Rolling Stones once said, you can't always get what you want.

  6. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 11:59 PM

    Have to strongly agree with Sec3 for certain! The guy puts out the effort and he never gives up. Seems like he could at least be a decent utility guy, and a lot better than Rick Ankiel over the long-term! But with that arm his best position is clearly left-field or first base. peric, ABM, and a host of anonymiii

  7. Anonymous - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:01 AM

    What did LaRoche do? I missed that one…Got more than a bit disgusted … he clearly doesn't like Tony LaRussa's style or his Cardinals and was more than happy to voice that to the beat reporters after the game.

  8. Anonymous8 - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:18 AM

    All joking aside, think how even more pathetic Nyjer's OBP would be if he wasn't intentionally plunked a few times last season and by the Marlins this Spring Training.He still can't run the bases and has no arm and Anon @7:59 thinks he should play 1st base?My biggest fear is he will get one of his teammates hurt in a retaliation. Suggestions of him being sent to AAA wouldn't surprise me.Hoping Corey Brown gets well soon as Rizzo does need some more options as Ankiel and Bernadina just seem to be temporary fixes.

  9. Anonymous - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:27 AM

    If Nyjer goes to AAA might JayB go too to complain about him there? Could be a good thing!

  10. swang - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:49 AM

    Wait, I thought you're not supposed to say you deliberately hit someone? Isn't that an MLB rule? or is there a special Livan exception?

  11. JaneB - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:57 AM

    My husband pointed out today that Nyjer is taking hockey style sportsmanship with him when he checks the guy guarding the base. I thought that was interesting. Sec3 and anon., I know others will disagree and I can write their posts for them, but Nyjer IS working hard, and his flat spots are also a source of strength. I don't have any more opinions about who ends up on this team and who gets sent down, and have seen enough to know I'm taking a total flyer every time I voice one. But I will love all of them, whatever level of the team they play for. Probably I will keep loving Livo most of all, especially after his comments today.The team we saw today had some spunk and spark I hadn't seen in the previous five games. Hope to see it again tomorrow, before I head to the airport, but REALLY hope to see it in DC.

  12. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:16 AM

    JaneB: yes, that's the book on Nyjer–a hockey player's attitude. That's the part I like. Unfortunately, he also has a hockey player's arm, and I seriously have been wondering for a while now if he would benefit from Lasik–it would explain a great deal. But he's a Tough Guy, and I like that.

  13. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:18 AM

    Swang: indeed, Livan may find a letter from the commissioner in his inbox, with an envelope enclosed for the check he'll be sending in.

  14. Theophilus - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    Nyjer's "flat spot," Jane, is his EEG.

  15. Theophilus - Mar 22, 2011 at 2:54 AM

    Mark — One final question before Last Call. Kilgore continues to assert that Gaudin has some sort of gimmicky contract that allows him to refuse assignment to Syracuse. What kind of deal is that? By his assessment, the Nats are going north w/ a bullpen comprised of (A) three guys who can't pitch, (B) two guys who aren't pitching well, (C) one guy who's never pitched above AA, and (D) Burnett and Slaten (two lefthanders). Ain't that a fine kettle of fish? I've been a Rizzo defender but this is starting to put me in an uncharitable frame of mind.

  16. Feel Wood - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    Gaudin signed a minor league deal, and for veteran players it is not unusual for such contracts to have an out clause that allows the player to opt for free agency if they do not make the team in spring training. So nothing strange in Kilgore's reporting of that. What is strange in his reporting is his continued assertion that Gaudin would have to pass through waivers in order to be assigned to Syracuse – assuming he either doesn't have an out clause or chooses not to exercise it. Since Gaudin is on a minor league deal already and is not on the 40-man roster, it would seem he should be able to be assigned directly to Syracuse with no waivers involved.

  17. Brian Benson - Mar 22, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    I love the Nats, but I think Nyjer is a knucklehead. There is a difference between being a tough player, and being a punk. I hope Ankiel gets the starting gig, and Mr tough guy is picking splinters out of his tough behind.





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