Bryce Harper, a right fielder for the Washington Nationals, stormed the mound to fight Monday after being hit in his hip by a pitch from Hunter Strickland, a relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants.
The two traded punches before a brawl broke out on the field, The Associated Press reported.
"You never want to get suspended or anything like, but sometimes you just got to go and get them and can't hesitate," Harper said, according to the AP. "You either go to first base or you go after him and I decided to go after him."
The incident might not come as a surprise to some, considering that Harper got the best of Strickland in the 2014 playoffs, hitting two home runs in that matchup.
Monday's game marked the first time the two competed against one another on the field since that 2014 matchup, and it certainly didn't take them long to get reacquainted.
The Nationals were up 2-0 on the Giants in the eighth inning. Strickland hit Harper with a 98 mph fastball.
"My head was on a swivel, as quick as I could to not get taken out by somebody on their team or anything like that," Harper said, according to the AP.
Strickland hit Harper in the face before catching a punch to the head, as teammates rushed onto the field.
"I was trying to go after him, with the helmet or with myself, just doing what I needed to do to keep it going, I guess," Harper said.
Strickland was dragged from the fight by teammates while Harper was held back.
The two were tossed from the game and could be facing further consequences from the MLB.
After the game, Nationals Manager Dusty Baker commented on the incident, according to The Washington Post.
"We’re not here to brawl. We’re here to win the game," Baker said, according to the Post. "But we’re not here to take any stuff either. Like I said, most teams I’ve had we don’t start anything, but we don’t take nothing."
Baker added that it's not Harper who should be punished, but Strickland based on his pitch.
"That clearly wasn’t going inside. That’s throwing at a spot where you can’t get out of the way," Baker said. "If anybody should get suspended, I think it should be their pitcher … not [Harper]."
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