- The Washington Times - Monday, August 21, 2006

PHILADELPHIA — Washington Nationals right-hander Ramon Ortiz may have to wait a week to find out whether he will be suspended for his ejection in the second inning of Saturday’s 11-2 loss to the Phillies.

Manager Frank Robinson, though, said he doesn’t necessarily believe his pitcher will be suspended. He said Ortiz, who was tossed after hitting Aaron Rowand in the back, wasn’t issued a warning by home plate umpire Paul Nauert for hitting Chase Utley earlier in the inning.

Robinson should know how Ortiz’s situation might be handled. In 1999, Robinson was Major League Baseball’s vice president of on-field operations. One of his main duties was to maintain order on the field.

“It could possibly be [a suspension], or it could possibly not be,” Robinson said. “Now, it wasn’t up around the head. That would automatically be a suspension. There wasn’t any warning in place, but he was thrown out of the game without a warning because the umpire says, ‘I think he threw at him intentionally.’”

Robinson said the league office in New York will talk to Nauert, read the umpire’s report and watch video of the incident to determine what, if any, disciplinary action is needed. However, Robinson said Ortiz can expect to receive a hefty fine regardless of whether he is suspended.

“If it’s not up around the head, it’s not as severe a penalty,” Robinson said.

Ortiz said he would appeal a suspension.

“Yeah, because I didn’t hit anybody on purpose, but I don’t think I’ll get a suspension,” Ortiz said.

Brandon’s big bat

When Nationals backup catcher Brandon Harper strolled up to the plate in the third inning, Citizens Bank Park’s video scoreboard showed Harper’s name and number (10), along with his statistics. But the head shot was of former Nationals shortstop Royce Clayton.

Harper then made sure that kind of mistake won’t happen again by hitting two home runs and driving in four runs in just his fourth major league game. Harper, who spent 10 seasons in the minor leagues before being called up Aug. 9, became the franchise’s first player since Bret Barberie in 1991 to hit his first two career home runs in the same game.

His first came in the third inning off Phillies starter Randy Wolf to the seats in center field. His second, a three-run homer, also came off Wolf and ignited a six-run, sixth-inning Nationals rally that cut the deficit to 10-8.

“I’ll definitely remember it, first and second big-league home run, but we still lost — a little bittersweet,” said Harper, who went 2-for-3.

Harper, who doubled off Dontrelle Willis in his first major league at-bat, hit just two home runs in 120 at-bats at Class AAA New Orleans this year.

The hot corner

Utility infielder Damian Jackson had three errors at third base in a four-inning span that impeded the Nationals’ comeback and took responsibility for the loss afterward.

“We had some good momentum rolling, and I think it took the wind out of our sails,” Jackson said. “I blame the loss on myself.”

Jackson’s miscues began in the sixth inning on a throwing error that allowed Pat Burrell to reach first. In the eighth inning, he misplayed a Mike Lieberthal bunt. His third error came on the next batter, when Abraham Nunez bunted the ball back to pitcher Chad Cordero. Cordero threw to third to try to get the force out, but third-base umpire Nauert ruled Jackson never touched the bag, loading the bases. Jimmy Rollins’ sacrifice fly made it 12-10.

“I try to stay ready, but there’s nothing like game speed,” said Jackson, who replaced Ryan Zimmerman in the fifth inning with the Phillies up 10-2. “I can’t simulate game speed. I just have to do a better job at trying to catch up to game speed. I haven’t played in a long time. I take total responsibility.”

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