Nieves disputes Morgan’s bad-boy rep

Brewers catcher Wil Nieves understands why his former Washington Nationals teammate Nyjer Morgan was painted as a troublemaker last season, when Morgan had run-ins with everybody from the Cardinals to the Marlins to a fan in Philadelphia. But that perception is all wrong, Nieves said.

The Brewers traded for Morgan on Sunday morning, and he’s expected to start the season as an extra outfielder.

“He’s a good guy in the clubhouse and off the field, too, he just plays hard and gets too emotional sometimes,” Nieves said. “You’re going to see a guy who plays hard, loves baseball and respects his teammates.

“I know he had a bad reputation last year. He just needs to control himself a little bit.”

Morgan made the national highlight shows beginning in late August, when he was suspended by Major League Baseball for throwing a ball at a fan in the stands, an infraction for which Morgan was later absolved. On Aug. 28, Morgan upset St. Louis by barreling into catcher Bryan Anderson, who was a step or two away from home plate, to score the 13th run in a 14-5 win. Three days later, he separated Marlins catcher Brett Hayes’ shoulder in another plate collision, a hard hit that led the teams to brawl the following night.

Nieves believes a fresh start will do Morgan well.

“I think he’s going to like being on a team with a good chance to be in the playoffs, and I think we have some veteran guys here who will be good for him,” Nieves said. “I love him. If he can control that intensity a little bit, he’s going to be a perfect fit for this organization.”

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