Nationals GM labels Phillies' Joe Girardi as 'con artist' after Max Scherzer incident


Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo had choice words for Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi after Tuesday night’s issue of Max Scherzer’s substance inspections.

Scherzer was checked in the middle of the fourth inning after Girardi suspected the pitcher may have had an illegal grip-enhancing substance on him. After it was ensured he was clean, Scherzer stared Girardi down on the way back to the dugout. The manager was then ejected after coming out of the dugout.

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Rizzo was asked about the incident on Wednesday in an interview with 106.7 The Fan in D.C.

“It’s embarrassing for Girardi, it’s embarrassing for the Phillies, it’s embarrassing for baseball,” he said.

Rizzo added that Girardi was a “con artist” and called the manager’s actions “gamesmanship.”

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“It had nothing to do with substances, he had no probable cause to ask for it, the umps shouldn’t have allowed it, but it happened and you have to deal with it. This is what we’re going to have to deal with,” the Nationals’ exec said. “You think you’re going to intimidate a Max Scherzer, it’s just not going to happen. You’re just going to p–s him off and make him concentrate that much harder.”

Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer, right, waits to be checked for foreign substances near home plate umpire Tim Timmons after the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Tuesday, June 22, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer, right, waits to be checked for foreign substances near home plate umpire Tim Timmons after the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Tuesday, June 22, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Girardi insisted it had nothing to do with comeuppance after the game.

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“I’m not playing games, I’m trying to win games here,” he said. “I have respect for what Max has done in his career, but I have to do what’s right for our team.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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