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Ozzie fires more barbs at Bryce

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Ozzie fires more barbs at Bryce

MIAMI -- Ozzie Guillen loves Bryce Harper. He made that point painfully clear during a six-minute diatribe Monday afternoon. While also lambasting Harper for what he believes was a disrespectful act during Sunday's game: Pointing his bat toward Guillen to show he had swapped it out for one with too much pine tar on it, per the Marlins manager's request.

"I like this kid," Guillen said. "I think this kid is good for baseball. He's going to be better. But if this kid continues to do that stuff, he might not make it. Because they're going to fool around with the wrong guy, and that wrong guy will kick his ass. He might not make it."

That was merely one of several verbal shots fired by Guillen at Harper and Nationals manager Davey Johnson one day after the relatively minor pine tar incident between the two clubs.

During the first inning of Sunday's game, Guillen noticed Harper had pine tar well up onto the barrel of his bat. Rule 1.10(c) prohibits the application of it any more than 18 inches from the bat's handle. Guillen says he informed plate umpire Marty Foster and Nationals third base coach Bo Porter and requested Harper use another bat.

When the 19-year-old came to the plate in the third inning, he indeed had a cleaner bat in his hands. He then pointed it toward the Miami dugout, perhaps showing Guillen it was legal. Guillen immediately started yapping at Harper and Johnson, eventually grabbing a bat of his own and pointing it toward the other dugout.

"It's my opinion: I think this kid disrespected myself doing that, and I don't think that was appropriate to do," Guillen said Monday. "I don't think it's right to make a scene, to make a big deal about it. I think he reacted, or acted, the wrong way. I don't care what people say."

Guillen attempted to call Johnson following Sunday's game and explain his side of the story. Johnson didn't care to engage in much of a conversation. According to Guillen, "He told me: 'Get the expletive away from me.'"

"He called me," Johnson said. "I said it wasn't a big deal. Enough said about it. It was an interesting exchange all around. That's Oz."

"I don't think Davey understand why I call him," Guillen said. "Because I was just calling to say: 'I don't want to make a big deal about this. I don't want to make a big scene. I think the kid 100 percent did something he shouldn't.' But I respect Davey. I love Davey. I think Davey's one of the best baseball managers in the game, to be honest with you."

Johnson believes Guillen was trying to "intimidate" Harper when he requested the bat change and later cursed at him from the dugout.

"I just don't like any time an opposing manager talks to my player when he's up at the plate, has any kind of conversation with my hitter," Johnson said. "That's nothing I like to see happen in the ballgame."

Guillen insists he wasn't trying to intimidate Harper.

"He showed me up," the veteran skipper said. "I never showed him up. Not one thing about it. Every time I talk about this kid, I compliment him. Like: 'Wow, he's the best thing. Hopefully people will play like that. People should be playing like him. Whoever teaches this kid, teaches the right way.'

"I wish this happened two years ago. Then I would've told Davey what I feel. And I would've told this kid what I feel. Intimidate? Pfft. I never intimidate people. For what? Do I look like I intimidate anybody? I swear, if we fight, that kid will kick my ass. You think I'm going to intimidate him?"

Harper stayed above the fray when asked after Sunday's game about what happened.

"He battles for his team, and that's the type of manager Ozzie is," the rookie outfielder said. "He's a great manager to play for. He's going to battle for you, no matter what. That's a manager you want to play for."

Do the Nationals expect Marlins starter Carlos Zambrano to retaliate at all during the series finale?

"No," Johnson said. "My guy throws harder than him, anyway."

Right-hander Edwin Jackson, whose fastball averages 94 mph, is starting for the Nationals.

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Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager

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Whoa. Dusty Baker not returning as Nationals' manager

The Washington Nationals announced Friday Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018. 

Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history, and the Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, but they failed to make it to an NLCS.

Baker is 14th in MLB history with 1,863 career wins.

The next Nationals' manager will be their seventh since they arrived in DC.

Only the Marlins have had as many.

The team also announced the contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired, and the search for a new manager will begin immediately.

RELATED: BRYCE HARPER THANKS NATIONALS' FANS FOR SUPPORT

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Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season

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Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season

It's been a week since the air was sucked out of D.C. in the Nationals Game 5, 9-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs. 

And now that we've had a few days to decompress from another early D.C. playoff exit, Nats right fielder Bryce Harper decided to take some time to thank fans for their support this season.

Harper posted an Instagram video Wednesday afternoon, with a fresh cut, and thanked fans for continuing to pack Nats Park. In the video he says he looks forward to "chasing that championship" again next spring. 

The 2017 season could be described as a rough one for Harper after missing the last few weeks of the season with a bone bruise in his left knee. 

Harper had a .319 average during the 2017 season, along with 29 home runs, 97 RBI's, 95 runs scored and 4 stolen bases. He is entering the final year of his contract.

RELATED: 20 THINGS SAD D.C. SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT

National Fans. Thank you!💯 #RedLightRecording

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