Nats' Nolin (5 gms.), Martinez (1) suspended

September 10th, 2021

PITTSBURGH -- Left-hander and manager Dave Martinez were disciplined by Major League Baseball on Friday, two days after Nolin was ejected for throwing behind and then hitting Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman at Truist Park.

Nolin was suspended five games and fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally hitting Freeman. Martinez was suspended one game, which he served on Friday in the series opener against the Pirates at PNC Park. Bench coach Tim Bogar took over in his place. Martinez also was fined an undisclosed amount.

Michael Hill, Major League Baseball’s senior vice president for on-field operations, made the announcement.

The incident occurred on Wednesday night in the first inning of the Nationals’ 4-2 win. Nolin threw a 90.2 mph fastball behind Freeman, then hit him in the waist area with a 91.2 mph fastball on the next pitch. Nolin was ejected by home-plate umpire Lance Barksdale.

Nolin said after the game that he was not trying to send a message.

“First inning of the game, obviously it’s super humid out, compared to places we’ve been playing,” Nolin said. “It just happens. Balls slip out of your hand. Rosin for me doesn’t do much.”

Freeman did not take exception to the first pitch, but he did to the second.

"I expressed that to Lance when he missed me,” Freeman said at the time. “I said, ‘Lance, that's all he gets. That's all he gets. If he goes again, he's got to go. That's clear intent.' So, when he hit me again, I said, 'Lance, I'm sorry, but that's two times. That's clear intent.’"

The incident came one day after Braves closer Will Smith hit Nationals slugger Juan Soto in the side with a 93.9 mph fastball in the ninth inning of Washington’s 8-5 loss on Tuesday. The two have history that dates back to last season.

On Wednesday, Soto responded with a tie-breaking solo home run in the seventh inning to help the Nats overcome Nolin’s early ejection. He blew a kiss toward the Braves' bullpen afterward.

“Just showing love to my fans in the stands,” Soto said that night. “They are over the bullpen. They were yelling at me the whole ballgame, so I just showed a little love to them.”

After Freeman was hit, he walked over to the Nationals' dugout to discuss the pitch with Martinez as it pertained to the Soto-Smith at-bat. He also spoke with Soto.

“I’ve known Freddie for a long time,” Martinez said at the time. “He’s that kind of guy. He understands that we both respect the game very much. I respect him and the feelings are mutual. I was glad he came over.”