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Lannan likely to start Saturday

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Lannan likely to start Saturday

MIAMI -- John Lannan, who surprisingly lost his spot in the Nationals' rotation at the end of spring training and has been pitching at Class AAA Syracuse since, is expected to return to the big leagues Saturday and start one game of the Nationals' doubleheader against the Braves.

Asked who would be used to pitch that day, Davey Johnson didn't explicitly name Lannan. The Nationals manager said the club would promote one of three minor-league starters: Lannan, Yunesky Maya or Ryan Perry.

"So it'll be one of them," Johnson said before adding with a smirk: "Who do you think?"

Lannan, who is pitching tonight for Syracuse at Pawtucket, is best lined up to make the start. The 27-year-old left-hander enters tonight's game with a 6-8 record and 4.60 ERA in 17 total starts, but he's posted a 3.14 ERA over his last eight outings, allowing one earned run in five of those.

Lannan also has far and away the most big-league experience of the candidates, with a 38-51 ERA and 4.00 ERA in 128 career starts.

He was set to earn the final spot in the Nationals' Opening Day rotation over Chien-Ming Wang and Ross Detwiler, and during the final week of spring training, Johnson said "John's my guy" when asked if Lannan would open the season as his No. 5 starter.

But during the Nationals' final exhibition game on April 3, Johnson informed the left-hander (who has a 5 million guaranteed contract) he would be optioned to Syracuse and that the club was going with Detwiler instead.

Lannan then formally requested a trade, and general manager Mike Rizzo has since made inquiries to other clubs. No offers have met Rizzo's satisfaction, though, and the GM has wanted to keep Lannan in the system in case he's needed due to injury, a doubleheader or in September once ace Stephen Strasburg is shut down.

Lannan will most likely be recalled for only one day and then optioned back to Class AAA, and the Nationals won't need to remove anyone else from the roster to make room for him. Per the new collective bargaining agreements, teams are allowed to add a 26th player for doubleheaders.

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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.