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Johnson's contract with Nats finalized

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Johnson's contract with Nats finalized

The Nationals and Davey Johnson have finalized details of a contract that ensures the veteran manager will return in the same capacity next season.

The question of Johnson's return was never seriously in doubt, but it had yet to be formalized because of the unusual nature of his employment with the Nationals.

Lured back to the dugout in June 2011 following Jim Riggleman's surprise resignation, Johnson was given a three-year consulting contract. Within that contract were provisions to give him the manager's job, though those provisions had to be enacted on a year-to-year basis, with financial aspects of the deal open to negotiation.

The two sides went through a similar process last fall, with Johnson and the Nationals finally agreeing to terms on October 31. This year's time frame actually was comparable because the Nationals' season didn't end until October 12 thanks to their first-ever playoff appearance.

According to MLB.com Johnson will call it a career as a manager following the conclusion of the 2013 season.

Though financial details weren't disclosed, it's believed the Nationals are paying Johnson far more than any of their previous managers, who all ranked among the lowest-paid in baseball at the time with salaries in the range of $500,000.

Johnson, who turns 70 in January, is the frontrunner to earn NL Manager of the Year honors next week after guiding a Nationals club that had never posted a winning season before to an MLB-best 98-64 record and its first NL East title. Since taking over for Riggleman, he owns a 138-107 record, bringing his career managerial mark over 16 seasons with five franchises to 1,286-995. Johnson's .564 career winning percentage ranks second among all active MLB managers, behind only the Yankees' Joe Girardi (.573 over six seasons). His six career postseason appearances rank second only to the Tigers' Jim Leyland (seven).

 Only one change is anticipated to Johnson's coaching staff in 2013, with a replacement needed for departed third base coach Bo Porter (now manager of the Astros). The Nationals could add a new third base coach (potentially Class AAA manager Tony Beasley) or shift first base coach Trent Jewett to the other side of the diamond and replace his position.  

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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.