Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon got into a dugout tussle with Bryce Harper in the eighth inning of a 12-5 loss to his former team, the Philadelphia Phillies.
As Harper was returning from his at-bat, Papelbon began chirping at him. The pitcher seemed to believe Harper did not show proper hustle going for first on a flyout to right field.
Harper responded angrily from the top of the steps, and the situation escalated with Papelbon grabbing him by the throat and driving him into the back wall of the dugout. Teammates separated the heated pair.
After the game, Papelbon admitted fault.
"First of all, I'll say I'm in the wrong there," he said. "You know, I grew up with brothers, he grew up with brothers. I view him as a brother of mine. Sometimes in this game there's a lot of testosterone and there's a lot of intensity that spills over and I think that happened today. For me, I can't allow that to happen in the middle of a game. You handle that after the games or allow the manager to handle that. In that light of it, I'm wrong."
What did Papelbon believe needed addressing after the game?
"We've got to keep grinding and, even though we're not in [the playoffs], play the game the right way."
He didn't mention his teammate by name, but the response seemed to implicate Harper.
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