It was just four days ago that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon found himself in the middle of a suspension-worthy altercation, the result of plunking Orioles third baseman Manny Machado near the head during Wednesday's 4-3 loss.
But after Sunday's melee with his own teammate, NL MVP candidate Bryce Harper, might the 34-year-old reliever receive another punishment — this time from his own club?
"We haven’t spoken about that yet," Nats manager Matt Williams said after the game. "We just got done with [postgame activities], we’ll speak about that."
Papelbon, who appealed Major League Baseball's three-game suspension following the Machado fracas, was contrite in his postgame comments with reporters. He said that he spoke to Harper after the incident to apologize and address any lingering hard feelings between the two. Still, the 10-year veteran was asked whether or not he believes the club will discipline him for his latest episode.
"No, I don't," Papelbon said. "But we'll handle that all in-house. That's something that will stay within the team and not [the media]."
Whether the "in-house" way of handling it is a fine, a suspension or some other punitive action is unknown at this point. But in less than a week, Papelbon has twice shown that he's not averse to resorting to violence, something that certainly hasn't gone over well with the home fans who booed him mercilessly Sunday as he imploded in the ninth inning.
Papelbon contends that occasional infighting among teammates is normal for any clubhouse, however unpleasant it may be in the moment. But given all that's happened with him recently, it's fair to wonder if the Nats' decision makers feel the same way.
"Not everything's always hunky dory," Papelbon said, "and seasons don't go by everyone agrees on the same thing and there's not one disagreement in 162 games plus spring training. It's part of the atmosphere, man. It's part of what happens in this game, and you put so much into it and you grind so much throughout the year that sometimes emotions spill over, and that's what happened today."