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Bryce Harper contrite after ejection: 'It just can't happen'

Phillies star absorbs criticism from teammate Jake Arrieta: 'He's got to understand we need him in rightfield.'

Bryce Harper, left, is restrained by coaches after

Bryce Harper, left, is restrained by coaches after getting ejected by plate Mark Carlson during the fourth inning in the Mets' 5-1 victory over the Phillies on Monday night, April 22, 2019, at Citi Field.   Photo Credit: AP/Frank Franklin II

Bryce Harper was the one ejected Monday night, but it was Phillies starter Jake Arrieta who spit the most fire — much of it directed at his $330-million teammate — after the Mets’ 5-1 victory at Citi Field.

Harper, who struck out in both of his at-bats, once looking, got tossed by plate umpire Mark Carlson for chirping from the dugout in the fourth inning. Manager Gabe Kapler was first to get in Carlson’s face, but then had to cross-check a charging Harper, a move that caused him to bump the umpire in the process.

The whole ordeal did not sit well at all with Arrieta, who was upset after the game, both with the Phillies as a team and specifically Harper, the only player he singled out.

“He’s got to understand we need him in rightfield,” Arrieta said. “I don’t care how bad the umpire is. He wasn’t great for either side. I’m out there trying to make pitches and he misses some calls. So what? We need him in rightfield. He wasn’t there and that hurts.”

As for Harper, he didn’t make any excuses for his actions.

“It just can’t happen,” Harper said. “In a game like that against the Mets, division rival, things like that. It just can’t happen. For myself and this team, as well. We’re a better team with me in the lineup and I got to stay in there.”

Carlson said Harper was ejected for “inappropriate comments” and language that was “personal” in nature. The argument apparently started with Harper in the batter’s box when he was called out on strikes leading off the fourth inning, then later continued with Cesar Hernandez at the plate. Carlson confirmed there was physical contact, caused by Harper pushing Kapler into him, and such an incident is likely to result in a suspension once it's reviewed by the league office.

Upon seeing Carlson toss him, Harper bolted from the dugout, tripping momentarily on the steps, and had to be pushed away from the umpire by Kapler. He then was restrained by a coach.

“I’m usually zero to 100, anyways,” Harper said of his rapid boil. “If you look at all my ejections, it’s usually pretty calm and then — bam! —- once it happens, I just let it out, I guess. But like I said, that can’t happen. I’ve got to stay in that game, got to be there for my team, for this organization, my fans, as well. I got to be better.”

Harper, remember, just signed a 13-year, $330-million contract with the Phillies because he wanted to finish his career with the franchise. Just 22 games into his first season, he’s already rankled Arrieta — a fellow Scott Boras client — and his ejection was at the center of what the pitcher saw as a weak effort by the Phillies.

“We were flat from start to finish,” said Arrieta, who allowed seven hits and four runs — three earned — in six innings. “Two-hour delay, it doesn’t matter. We have to be ready to play. We weren’t and it showed ... I’m not happy with the way we showed up today.”

Harper had yet to discuss the matter with Arrieta before he spoke to the media, but he agreed with the pitcher’s assessment.

“‘Yeah, we got to play better. Plain and simple,” Harper said. “These games matter. They matter now, they matter in September. So we got to go out there tomorrow, put our best foot forward and try to win a ballgame.”

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