Bryce Harper suspended 1 game for confronting umpire

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper has been suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed sum for confronting an umpire following his ejection from Monday night's 5-4 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Harper, the reigning National League MVP, has elected to file an appeal and was in the lineup and batted third for Wednesday night's series finale against the Tigers, which also happened to be Bryce Harper MVP bobblehead night at Nationals Park.

"I think the union, they'll take care of that and figure out what happens," Harper said after Wednesday's 3-2 win. "I think the only person that I'm pretty upset that saw it was my mom. I told her, 'Sorry.' I texted her after the game. So I think those are certain things that just happen. You live and you learn. Nothing I can do."

In the bottom of the ninth inning Monday night, Harper was in the dugout when he was ejected by plate umpire Brian Knight after Nationals batter Danny Espinosa was called out on strikes.

When someone is ejected from a game in the majors, he is required to leave the dugout.

Moments after Monday's ejection, pinch-hitter Clint Robinson hit a tiebreaking, game-ending home run, and Harper ran onto the field with his teammates to celebrate. Harper pointed toward Knight and cursed at him.

After the game, Harper described what he said as "a couple choice words." When a reporter mentioned the possibility of getting fined, Harper said: "If I do, I do. I'll pay it. Maybe [Knight will] get fined, too. So we'll see."

With Harper remaining in the lineup Wednesday, the Nationals' biggest shake-up was the announcement that second baseman Daniel Murphy would bat behind Harper in the cleanup spot, bumping first baseman Ryan Zimmerman down to fifth in the lineup.

Zimmerman hit two home runs in Tuesday night's loss to the Tigers but has struggled to protect Harper this season, going just 3-for-28 following a Harper walk. As a team, Washington is 4-for-30 after a Harper walk. Harper is second in the majors with 34 walks this season.

Washington manager Dusty Baker said Wednesday's lineup change had to do with the success that Murphy, an ex-Met, has had against Jordan Zimmermann, who started for Detroit. A former Nationals pitcher, Zimmerman made his first appearance against his old team since leaving via free agency this past offseason.

"He's had quite a bit of success against him, so today would've been a perfect day to bat him behind Bryce," Baker said before Wednesday's game. "How long I'm going to stick with this, I don't know."

Murphy entered Wednesday leading the majors with a .398 batting average and 17 multi-hit games. He is also among the league leaders in on-base plus slugging (1.090, third), on-base percentage (.439, fourth), slugging (.650, sixth), and doubles (12, tied for sixth). In five games batting cleanup this season, Murphy is hitting .375 (6-for-16) and has a .500 on-base percentage.

Harper went 2-for-3 with a walk, Murphy went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, and Zimmerman was 1-for-2 with two walks in the win, whichwas highlighted by pitcherMax Scherzertying the major league record for strikeouts in a nine-inninggame with 20.

Information from ESPN's Eddie Matz contributed to this report.

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