The Washington Nationals star was suspended four games by Major League Baseball for charging the mound after Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland hit him on Monday, triggering a bench-clearing brawl between the clubs. Harper and Strickland both landed punches before they were removed from the pile (although Strickland didn't leave the field as easily as Harper did).
Harper escaped without injury, but it could have been worse. As Harper and Strickland fought, Giants teammates Michael Morse and Jeff Samardzija collided with each other and went flying away from the main event. That ill-timed collision may have saved Harper from serious injury, given that Samardzija was charging hard in his direction.
It's safe to say Morse may be the only Giant on Harper's Christmas card list this year, because the 24-year-old made special note of the fact that Morse may have inadvertently protected him during the brawl.
"I'm very thankful for Mikey Mo," Harper told Mark Zuckerman of MASN on Tuesday, after his suspension was announced.
Ironically, Harper and Morse were teammates in Washington during the 2012 season.
Because he appealed his suspension, Harper is in the Nationals' lineup Tuesday night, batting third and playing right field.