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Friday, April 3, 2020

Agent of former Nats reliever blames umpires for tantrum that led to release

Shawn Kelley

Relief pitcher Shawn Kelley was promptly released by the Washington Nationals Monday, a day after throwing an on-field temper tantrum after giving up a home run in a 25-1 game.

The Nationals openly attributed Kelley’s release to his slamming of his glove to the ground after giving up a home run in Washington’s blowout win, which general manager Mike Rizzo called a “selfish act.” According to Kelley’s agent, however, the glove slam had nothing to do with the Nationals or the game situation at all.

Kelley’s agent, Mike McCann, told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that his client’s frustration had nothing to do with pitching in a blowout, or even giving up the home run. He blamed “mixed messages” from the umpires. By McCann’s telling of it, home plate umpire Adrian Johnson told Kelley to work more quickly, while second base umpire Tripp Gibson was urging him to slow down his pace if he didn’t want to be called for a balk.

Kelley himself offered the same explanation Tuesday night while subsequently apologizing for his actions. It wasn’t enough to save his job in Washington.

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