MILWAUKEE (AP) - Nyjer Morgan is making a name _ or two _ for himself.
Milwaukee’s eccentric center fielder has spawned no less than four alter egos this season from Tony Plush to Tony Hush, and they’re all helping to keep the Brewers loose as they take a 2-0 lead in their NL division series to Arizona for Game 3 on Tuesday.
“It’s good when you have a lot of different personalities on your team. They all draw from each other. They don’t feel like the spotlight’s just on one guy. I think it’s really healthy,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “It’s an awful boring team if you have guys with no personalities.”
Morgan insists he’s Plush when he steps on the field because he’s an entertainer, and all entertainers need stage identities. Out of Plush’s persona have come characters like Tony Tombstone, Tony Gumble and Tony Hush.
Morgan handles everything else.
In Game 1, he initially couldn’t see a drive by Lyle Overbay in the seventh inning with sunlight filtering through Miller Park’s windows, but caught it at the warning track and crashed hard into the wall during Milwaukee’s 4-1 win.
In the Brewers’ five-run rally in the sixth inning of Game 2, Morgan lashed the first pitch he saw for a two-run single in a 9-4 victory that put Milwaukee on the cusp of its first postseason series victory since 1982.
“It’s huge with the home-field advantage in our park,” Morgan said. “But we’ve got to go there and take care of business and try to come home on Tuesday.”
Morgan hit .304 and scored 61 runs in 119 regular-season games, batting in front of Braun and Fielder in his role as the left-handed hitter in a center-field platoon. He has also played exceptional defense.
Trying to explain Morgan’s mind is harder.
The 31-year-old has enough personalities for an entire team. While he’s carried the moniker “Tony Plush” for a dozen years as a joke among friends in the San Francisco Bay area, Milwaukee fans have made him their own.
“I can’t sugarcoat it for anybody. This is who I am. I’m going to be out there, I’m going to go out and have fun,” Morgan said. “I might get under people’s skin a little bit. But as long as it’s for the right things and I’m out there hustling, doing what I am supposed to do to win for my organization, then I’m going to be me.”
He certainly has been irritating to opponents.