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Report: Papelbon files grievance vs. Nationals

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Report: Papelbon files grievance vs. Nationals

NASHVILLE — The Nationals' already unenviable dilemma with Jonathan Papelbon appears to have become even more complicated after a report Sunday night that the controversial closer has filed a grievance against the organization over his unpaid suspension at season's end.

Citing multiple major league sources, Boston radio station website WEEI.com reported the former Red Sox reliever filed his grievance against the Nationals for failing to pay his salary during the 4-game suspension the club imposed on him during the season's final week.

The Nationals said general manager Mike Rizzo is expected to comment on the reported grievance Monday during his daily meeting with reporters at the Winter Meetings. Most club officials were scheduled to arrive at the Opryland Resort late Sunday night.

Papelbon's case is built upon the question of whether an MLB club is allowed to withhold pay from a player it unilaterally suspended. Players who serve league-imposed suspensions aren't paid, but that process is spelled out in the collective bargaining agreement signed off by the players' union.

Papelbon, according to the report, claims there is no precedent of a player having his salary withdrawn after a team-issued suspension. A hearing date has not yet been scheduled.

The 4-game suspension was handed down September 28, one day after Papelbon and teammate Bryce Harper got into a heated argument in the Nationals' dugout that resulted in the fiery closer choking the eventual NL MVP. The club announced at the time the suspension was without pay, with Rizzo saying he informed Papelbon of the punishment during a phone conversation.

"He was upset with the suspension, and we discussed about the nature of the incident and how I felt that it was an unacceptable way to handle yourself as a Washington National," Rizzo said that afternoon. "We parted amicably, and I left it with: We will see him shortly after the season."

Papelbon has not spoken publicly since he was suspended.

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One of the Nationals' reasons for acquiring the veteran closer from the Phillies prior to the July 31 trade deadline was the fact he was already signed for next season. Papelbon, who held (and still holds) limited no-trade rights as part of his contract, agreed to reduce his 2016 salary from $13 million to $11 million.

The Phillies actually picked up $4.5 million of the $4,830,601 that Papelbon was owed after the trade, so the Nationals were only responsible for $330,601 of his salary in 2015. Four days' worth of his full salary would amount to roughly $288,000.

Since season's end, the Nationals have been trying to figure out how to proceed with Papelbon. Sources have said the club has been gauging trade interest from other teams, but given his situation and his salary, they face a tough task trying to find a willing partner. If they release him, the Nationals would be responsible for his entire 2016 salary.

Rizzo has said he would only deal Papelbon and/or disgruntled reliever Drew Storen (who lost his closer's job to Papelbon after the trade) if it makes sense from a baseball standpoint.

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

Remember Jim Riggleman, the infamous Nats manager that resigned from the position back in 2011 after a win against the Seattle Mariners? Well he's back in a managerial position.

Bryan Price was fired as manager of the Cinncinati Reds Thursday, after the team started the 2018 season 3-15. Riggleman, who spent four seasons as their bench coach, was named the interim manager to replace Price.

Riggleman was promoted to interim manager of the Nats in July of 2009, after Manny Acta was let go midseason. He stayed on as manager for 2010 and 2011, and he then resigned from the team on June 23, 2011 after a win agaisnt the Seattle Mariners. He had lead the team to a win in 11 of their last 12 games prior to stepping away.

The reason behind the dramatic exit was due to the organization not yet picking up his 2012 contract option. He had reportedly requested a conversation with the front office about his future with the organization, and was upset after they declined. At 58 years-old, he felt he deserved more respect.

He's been with the Reds organization since 2012, and has spent time managing the Padres, Cubs and Mariners, in addition to the Nationals. His career winning pct. with each team has been below-.500.

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes launched a grand slam during a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning that rallied the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Wednesday night, preventing a three-game sweep.

Todd Frazier tied it at 4 with a two-run single and pinch-hitter Juan Lagares put New York ahead for the first time with a two-run double off ineffective setup man Ryan Madson (0-2).

Shut down by Tanner Roark for seven innings, the first-place Mets broke loose in the eighth and improved to 13-4 with a stirring victory against their NL East rivals.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, tripled and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who pulled off their own big comeback in the eighth inning of the series opener.

Two nights later, New York returned the favor.

Roark limited the Mets to two hits and left leading 4-2. Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled off Madson to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Jay Bruce fouled out before Frazier smacked a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home.

After an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases again, pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores struck out. Lagares then lined a two-run double the other way, just inside the right-field line at the outer edge of the infield grass, to put the Mets up 6-4.

Sammy Solis walked Amed Rosario and Conforto to force in a run. Cespedes connected for his sixth career slam -- the third by the Mets already this season -- off A.J. Cole, sending fans into a frenzy.

Both of Cespedes' hits in the inning came on 0-2 pitches.

AJ Ramos (1-1) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets since being acquired from Miami last July.

Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single for Washington in the first and Bryce Harper drew his 24th walk, most in the majors. Zimmerman, batting .121 at that point and struggling to make opponents pay for bypassing Harper, came through with a drive to left-center off Steven Matz for his second home run of the season.

Matz steadied himself after a 33-pitch first inning and retired his final 10 batters. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth after throwing 74 pitches.

Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and scored on Gonzalez's single. Zimmerman had a chance to start an inning-ending double play, but his throwing error from first base allowed another run to score on Jose Lobaton's RBI grounder as the Mets cut it to 3-2.

After Mets pitchers retired 16 in a row, Zimmerman's leadoff triple in the seventh got past a diving Bruce in right field, and Moises Sierra followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Zimmerman also hit a solo homer in the ninth.