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Fister feels good about return despite loss to Rays

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Fister feels good about return despite loss to Rays

For five innings on Thursday night, Doug Fister matched Rays' ace Chris Archer despite having not pitched in a major league game in over a month. But then he ran into trouble in the sixth inning and finished the night with his third loss of the season in a 5-3 Nationals defeat.

The end result aside, Fister took positives from his return from a right forearm strain. He adjusted his mechanics while rehabbing on the disabled list and still believes he has more hurdles to cross before he is fully back to form.

"I felt a lot better. Obviously it's a work in progress," he said. "I'm pleased with where I'm at at this point. It didn't go our way tonight, but look at it objectively we've got some things that I can come in tomorrow and work on."

Fister left in the sixth inning and ended the night with a line of 5 1/3 innings pitched, nine hits, five earned runs, three strikeouts, a home run and zero walks. Afterwards he spoke extensively about the mechanical adjustment he is working through.

"There was a couple of photos that I saw afterwards. The position my body was in, staying back over the rubber. Being able to use my legs and let my arm work freely. Those are very big keys for me," he said.

"Staying back and using my legs. That's the biggest thing. Before the injury, I was really getting top heavy and kind of leaning over my front leg and not really using my legs at all. All the stress was on my arm and my forearm and everywhere else. This allows me to really kind of get back into my legs and use some of my height as deception. Tonight seemed to feel a little bit better."

Fister said he has a goal of building up to 100 or 110 pitches and called throwing 87 on Thursday a "step in the right direction." He threw 70 pitches in his final rehab outing with Double-A Harrisburg last Friday night.

"You really have to build up to it. Any time you change mechanics or change your approach, you do have to take a little time and kind of rebuild back up to midseason strength," he said. "

"Endurance-wise, that is something I take a lot of pride in running and really making sure that I'm able to go the distance, per se. But tonight... I felt good."

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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USA TODAY Sports Images

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.