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Jonathan Papelbon Comments on Bryce Harper Incident, More

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2015 file photo, Washington Nationals relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon pitches in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park in Washington. Before the season began, no one was shy about predicting big things for the Washington Nationals. Not even the Nationals themselves, from Bryce Harper's
Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press
Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2016

One of the defining moments of the Washington Nationals' 2015 season saw Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper engage in a dugout skirmish on Sept. 27.

The incident led Washington to suspend Papelbon for four games, ending his 2015 season, per Bill Ladson of MLB.com. 

After arriving at spring training this week, Papelbon met with reporters to discuss the 2016 season and tried to move past the infamous fight with the defending National League MVP on Friday.

Papelbon told the media, per Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press, "I realized that what I did was wrong." According to Whyno, Papelbon noted that he and Harper are good now.

Expanding on those thoughts, Papelbon said he's thought about the fight a lot over the last five months, per Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports:

According to Todd Dybas of the Washington Times, Papelbon said he's "an imperfect person in an imperfect world." On his suspension, per Zuckerman, Papelbon said it was "probably the toughest point of my career."

Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post reported in November that Harper reached out to Papelbon in an effort to ensure "their relationship as teammates is functional next season."

Papelbon did not endear himself to fans in Washington by going after the team's best player. It didn't help that the incident came four days after he had received a suspension for hitting Baltimore's Manny Machado with a pitch.

Some thought the Nationals would try to get rid of Papelbon before the 2016 season started, but general manager Mike Rizzo said the team viewed the right-hander as "being one of our late-inning relievers" after trading Drew Storen to Toronto, per Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic. 

With all of that drama behind them, the Nationals can look forward to 2016. Last season was a disaster on all fronts, with the exception of Harper's MVP performance, so getting a fresh start will be the best thing for everyone involved.

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