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Ozzie, Davey clear air, downplay pine-tar incident

Ozzie, Davey clear air, downplay pine-tar incident

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Ozzie, Davey clear air, downplay pine-tar incident
MIAMI -- Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen and Nationals skipper Davey Johnson had a brief phone conversation following Sunday's game to clear the air.

During Washington's 4-0 win over Miami, Guillen and Nationals rookie Bryce Harper got into a chirping match in the fourth inning stemming from the amount of pine tar on the 19-year-old's bat. Guillen called Harper "unprofessional" for the way he handled the incident, and said Sunday that he would talk to Johnson about it later that evening.

"He called me," Johnson said. "He said it wasn't a big deal and enough said about it. It was an interesting exchange going on, but that's Oz. ... It was a pretty brief call. It wasn't a big issue with him."

Guillen had a different account of the conversation.

"I tried to call him, and he told me to get the [expletive] away from me," Guillen said. "I don't think Davey understands why I called him. I just called to say 'I don't want to make a big deal about this. I just think he did something he shouldn't.' I love Davey and I think he is one of the best baseball men in the game."

On Sunday, Guillen took issue with the pine tar on Harper's bat in the first inning being too high up on the barrel, so he brought it to the attention of Nationals third-base coach Bo Porter and home-plate umpire Marty Foster.

When Harper came to bat again in the fourth inning, Guillen said the outfielder raised his bat toward Miami's dugout as if to ask if the bat was OK with Guillen.

Miami's manager took it as a sign of disrespect, while Johnson maintained his stance from Sunday -- that Guillen was trying to intimidate Harper.

"He showed me up," Guillen said. "I didn't try to show him up."

"I don't like any time an opposing manager talks while my player is up at the plate, has any kind of conversation with my hitter," Johnson said. "Whether my hitter instigated or he instigated, it's not what I like to see happen in the ballgame."

Guillen added that if he wanted to intimidate Harper, he would have a pitcher throw at him. When asked if he was worried about the Marlins throwing at Harper on Monday, Johnson said, "Heck no. My guy throws harder than them anyway."

While Johnson and Guillen didn't agree on how the incident was handled by each side, the two managers did seem to agree on one point -- that pine tar on the bat doesn't serve as an advantage for hitters. Johnson added that every player just uses it to help with the grip so the bat doesn't go flying out of their hands.

Guillen, who has been complimentary of Harper all season, again sang the All-Star's praises on Monday, but cautioned that if Harper "continues to do that [stuff], he might not make it."

"He's going to fool around with the wrong guy and that guy is going to kick his [behind]," Guillen said. "He might not make it, and I love this kid. I think he is great for the game. He plays the game right and he plays hard. He has a chance to be one of the greatest players in the game, but he needs to be careful."

Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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