Nats’ Papelbon suspended 3 games for throwing at O’s Machado

Jonathan Papelbon has appealed his three-game ban.

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Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon was suspended for three games and fined by Major League Baseball on Friday for throwing a pitch in the "head area" of Baltimore’s Manny Machado.

Washington said Papelbon appealed, making him eligible to pitch Friday night against the Philadelphia Phillies, who traded him to Washington in July.

The closer declined to comment. Manager Matt Williams planned to use Papelbon in his normal role until any penalty is served.

"We’ll deal with it when that time comes, when that game comes, if it comes, and go from there," Williams said.

In the ninth inning of Baltimore’s 4-3 victory at Washington on Wednesday night, Papelbon’s first pitch to Machado was up and in, and his third hit him Machado the upper arm. Papelbon was ejected.

Williams said Wednesday he did not believe Papelbon intentionally threw at Machado, and that he thought the ejection was an over-reaction. Williams did not give an opinion on the severity of the suspension.

"My job is to help us try to win games here, and it’s not my call," Williams said.

The Nationals are barely hanging on to the faintest of playoff hopes. They entered Friday trailing the first-place New York Mets by 7 1/2 games in the NL East.