Eckstein suspended one game
Nats hitting coach argued with umpire over contested call
ATLANTA -- Replays may have shown that Nationals hitting coach Rick Eckstein had reason to argue on Tuesday night, but that argument landed him a one-game suspension from Major League Baseball.
Bob Watson, vice president of on-field operations for MLB, announced that Eckstein would be suspended for Wednesday's game against the Braves at Turner Field for continuing to argue a call with third-base umpire Larry Vanover after Vanover called Nyjer Morgan out at third on an attempted steal.
Interim manager Jim Riggleman first came out to argue with Vanover after Morgan was called out at third, even though television replays showed that Morgan appeared to beat Braves third baseman Chipper Jones' tag.
After Riggleman returned to the dugout, Eckstein continued to argue the call and was ejected just before coming out onto the field to confront Vanover. Riggleman restrained Eckstein before the hitting coach eventually left the field.
"It was just that call at third," Eckstein said about the ejection. "We had [Braves pitcher] Tommy Hanson on the ropes. The middle of our order was coming up. My competitive spirit just got the best of me. I've been reprimanded, and I'll serve my time."
Before Wednesday's game, Riggleman explained that the cause of Eckstein's ejection may have been a misunderstanding. Riggleman said that Vanover may have thought a comment came from Eckstein, when it actually came from another member of the Nationals' bench.
Eckstein was allowed to conduct all of his usual pregame duties, but will not be allowed in the dugout for Wednesday's game.
"Once the game starts, the hitting coach's job is to relay information about pitchers coming into the game," Riggleman said. "We'll probably turn those duties over to [bench coach] Pat Corrales for this one game. We will miss [Eckstein's] energy in the dugout though."
Adam Rosenberg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.