Major League Baseball was investigating Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo on Friday after an umpiring crew filed a report complaining of a verbal altercation at the end of Thursday’s 1-0 loss to the New York Mets.
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The Nationals were left seething at the ninth inning call on an infield grounder by Jayson Werth, with a front-office executive — later identified by a source as Rizzo — yelling dissent at Citi Field.
Werth jumped up in anger when first-base ump Phil Cuzzi called him out. Manager Jim Riggleman came out to argue, then pleaded his case to home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez.
"From where I was at, I felt he was going to beat the play," Riggleman said. "That’s a big call. But we can’t let the game come down to that. I didn’t really get an explanation. He just said he was out."
After Adam LaRoche’s game-ending groundout, Ivan Rodriguez, Riggleman, Werth and third base coach Bo Porter kept arguing, and the non-uniformed Nationals executive kept yelling.
When the umpires walked back to their dressing room, flanked by security, one demanded to know the executive’s identity.
A security officer went into the Washington clubhouse with a Nationals media guide in hand to identify the perpetrator, and a source identified him as Rizzo.
"We’re aware of the incident, and we’re looking into it," said Pat Courtney, MLB’s Senior VP of public relations.
Cuzzi, whose blown call on Joe Mauer helped the Yankees to a 4-3, 11-inning win in last year’s ALDS Game 2, said they talked to the MLB front office about the matter.
"We gave a phone report to Joe Torre [MLB Executive VP of Baseball Operations], and he’s going to take it from here," he said.