Big League Stew - MLB

It's embarrassing enough to get a bloody nose in the middle of your fifth-hour biology class. But in front of more than 45,000 people at Citizens Bank Park with Ryan Howard(notes) at the plate? That had to be a veritable "wanna get away" moment for Washington Nationals reliever Todd Coffey(notes) during a 7-3 loss to the Phillies on Thursday night.

Not that getting a nosebleed at the park was a new thing for Coffey.


"Sometimes it does that when it goes from cold to warm weather," said Coffey. "But never had anything like that in a game. Happened in the bullpen, though."

What's interesting is that if Coffey had started bleeding from his mouth — you know, in the old movie cliche way — he would have been charged with a balk. (Placido Polanco(notes) had just reached first on a single.) But under baseball's rules, he was able to reach up to his nose without penalty while on the rubber.

What's also interesting is that if this season had held form, Coffey wouldn't have even been out on the mound in the fourth inning. Before Thursday's start by John Lannan(notes), each Washington Nationals starter had gone five innings or more in each of the team's first 30 games. The Phillies offense, however, tagged him for six runs over two-plus innings, calling Coffey into duty for two innings of work.

In a weird way, Coffey's medical timeout might have been beneficial to the pitcher. After mopping up the mess with a towel from the trainer, Coffey struck out Howard and John Mayberry(notes) to end the inning. That caused him to come up with a foolproof — yet painful —escape plan for the next time he falls into a jam.

"I'll have to punch myself in the nose and have [the trainer] come out," he said.

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