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Braves handling Medlen different than Strasburg

Braves handling Medlen different than Strasburg

As the MLB regular season gets set for its final month, the Nationals and Braves are preparing for what should be an exciting two-team race for the N.L. East crown. But despite an expected close finish, the Nats maintain their plans to shut down ace Stephen Strasburg before the season ends. The Braves on the other hand, are deciding to continue rolling with Kris Medlen, another young pitcher who had Tommy John surgery towards the end of 2010.

Medlen has, however, pitched just 87 innings this season compared to 145 13 for Strasburg. The Braves started the right-hander in the bullpen which is why his innings total is so low.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Atlanta GM Frank Wren gave manager Fredi Gonzalez a choice regarding Medlen at the beginning of the season: start him in the bullpen and extend his season or begin with him in the rotation and risk having him shut down. The Braves reportedly would have stuck with a 160-180 innings limit if needed, similar to the Nats.

It presents a different scenario for the Nationals and teams dealing with pitchers recovering from Tommy John surgery. For Strasburg and the Nats, the situation is much different considering the money and expectations involved. Medlen was not a former number one pick and at this point isn't expected to someday be one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Braves also already lost their ace pitcher this season when Brandon Beachy underwent Tommy John back in June.

The Nationals wanted Strasburg to begin this season like any normal starter would, with a full spring training and starts every fifth day. They had no intention of putting him in the bullpen and likely never considered it.

Time will tell which team, if not both, made the right decision. But nonetheless, the Braves are moving forward this year with Medlen and expect to have him for the pennant race and in the playoffs.

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.