- The Washington Times - Monday, September 28, 2015

ASHBURN — Washington Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan struggled to hide a smirk when asked about the incident that unfolded at Nationals Park on Sunday.

“That was pretty weird to see,” Kerrigan said about the scuffle between Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper.

“You hate to see the MVP getting choked out. Those kind of things happen, especially in baseball when you’re around guys for six months. Those things happen. Hopefully there are no lingering effects from it.”

When Harper returned to the dugout after popping out in Sunday’s game, Papelbon was waiting at the top step, seemingly upset at how the 22-year-old outfielder ran out the fly ball. After the two began to exchange words, Papelbon grabbed Harper by the throat and backed him against the wall.

The Nationals suspended Papelbon for four games without pay. Coupled with a three-game ban from Major League Baseball for throwing at Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, Papelbon’s season is over.

“I didn’t really see it, I was told about it today,” Gruden said. “Scuffles happen. Emotions happen in football games, baseball games, sporting events, high-intensity games, high-intensity players, guys who are passionate about winning. Those things will happen. You’ve just got to try to fix it, make sure it never happens again. You never want to see your own team doing that, but sometimes it happens when you have highly competitive-type players.”

Harper is batting .336 with a .467 on-base percentage and .658 slugging percentage this season. He has 41 home runs, 117 runs and 96 RBI, leading the National League in the first two categories.

Papelbon is 2-2 with a 3.04 ERA and has saved seven games for the Nationals since the trade. On the season, he is 4-3 with a 2.13 ERA and 24 saves.

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