The Nationals’ A.J. Cole has been suspended for five games following Sunday’s game against the Pirates in which he threw at Pirates’ third baseman Jung-Ho Kang.
During the top of the third inning, Harper hit a triple down the first-base line. With the play behind him, Harper was unsure of how close the play would be going only by signs from his third base coach who was rightfully telling him it was a standup play.
Kang decided he would suddenly fake that he was receiving the ball to tag Harper out in his approach to third base, even though the ball was sailing 20 or so feet to his left. In somewhat of a panic, Harper went into an emergency slide to try and avoid the tag. In doing so, he jammed his thumb and was removed from the game.
In the subsequent bottom of the inning, Cole took it upon himself to play punisher and threw behind Kang’s head on the very first pitch of the at-bat. Home plate umpire Jordan Baker immediately ejected Cole from the game and the benches cleared:
Cole appears to be the only player receiving any punishment for the events of Sunday’s game and he is appealing the suspension.
The Nationals have already clinched the NL East division title, however, just got news that they will be without Wilson Ramos due to a torn ACL. While Harper is expected to return shortly, Daniel Murphy might not be ready for the postseason with a mild strain in his buttocks. The end of the season has been a tough one for many playoff-bound teams when it comes to injuries and the Nationals are no exception.