In a meaningless blowout, tempers flared between Washington Nationals players Bryce Harper, 22, and reliever Jonathan Papelbon, 34. On Sunday, the Phillies defeated the Nationals 12-5 in a game without any postseason implications. ESPN reported that Papelbon will be suspended for four games starting Thursday. Currently, Papelbon is already suspended for throwing high at Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. The fight started in the bottom of the eighth inning after Papelbon approached Harper. The men exchanged words before Papelbon grabbed Harper by the throat and pushed him. Teammates and coaches intervened and broke up the fight. The fight started after Papelbon had words for Harper for not running out a pop-up fly ball.
After cooler heads had prevailed, Harper did mention that he would have no issues with being teammates with Papelbon since the goal is to win a World Series. Papelbon is under contract with an $11 million option to remain with the Nationals in 2016. However, the team did not disclose if they would bring him back next season. Yahoo Sports reported that several anonymous players supported Papelbon. The issue between the players likely goes back to comments Harper made about Papelbon hitting Manny Machado.
Both players are superstars. Papelbon is in his eleventh season and has more than 300 saves, a World Series championship and a lifetime 2.35 ERA. Although Harper is still trying to earn his first championship, he should have plenty of time to finish his career with more than one championship. In four seasons, he has 96 home runs and a lifetime .290 batting average.