Morgan wants to fit in with Brewers
Nyjer Morgan sat in his new clubhouse at his new locker with a baseball bat in hand, ready to begin a new phase.
The Brewers traded for Morgan on Sunday morning and he was to make his Brewers debut Tuesday afternoon against the Padres in Milwaukee’s final 2011 Spring Training game. Morgan was scheduled to relieve starting center fielder Carlos Gomez, which is exactly how Brewers officials say they intend to use their new speedster during the regular season.
“I’m excited. Very excited,” Morgan said. “This seems like a fun ballclub here, and basically this is my first time being on a winning ballclub. I’m more excited about that than anything. I’m going to try to fit in, basically. Whatever my role is, I don’t care about that.”
The trade came as no surprise to Morgan, who knew his time with the Washington Nationals was coming to an end. Washington is going with Rick Ankiel and Jerry Hairston Jr. in center field instead of Morgan, who started 128 games in 2010. The Brewers sent Minor League infielder Cutter Dykstra and $50,000 to the Nationals to complete the trade.
“It was one of those things where my time was up there,” he said. “I don’t have any ill feelings about my time over there, and there are still a bunch of guys there that I consider friends. It’s business, and I knew my time there was done. I said so and everybody tried to butcher me for it. So it was time, because I was catching a bad rap out there.”
Morgan said he had no regrets about his tumultuous week late in the 2010 season, when he showed up on the national highlight shows after a couple of hard hits at home plate. Morgan drew the Cardinals’ ire for colliding with catcher Bryan Anderson, though Morgan insists that was nothing more than a hard baseball play. On Aug. 31, he separated Marlins catcher Brett Hayes’ shoulder in another plate collision, sparking retaliation the following night. Marlins starter Chris Volsted hit Morgan with a pitch in the fourth inning, and when Volsted threw behind Morgan in the sixth, Morgan charged the mound and incited a brawl.
“Like there’s never been a brawl before?” he said. “Come on. Basically, I never did anything. I served my [suspension] for charging the mound. It all got blown up.”
One of Morgan’s new teammates says it’s time to move on.
“That was last year, anyway,” second baseman Rickie Weeks told a reporter talking to Morgan. “Forget it.”
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