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Lannan, Perez, Leon among Nats call-ups

Lannan, Perez, Leon among Nats call-ups

With the calendar about to shift to September, the Nationals have plans to expand their roster in time for Saturday's game against the Cardinals.

Manager Davey Johnson said the club will recall left-hander John Lannan, catcher Sandy Leon and outfielder Eury Perez from Class AAA Syracuse. Veteran utilityman Mark DeRosa also will be activated off the disabled list after missing the last month with an abdominal strain.

The Nationals plan more reinforcements next week, after Syracuse's season ends on Monday. Johnson hinted that outfielder Corey Brown and reliever Christian Garcia will join the big-league roster at that point.

Of the September call-ups, Lannan figures to have the greatest impact. The left-hander was kept at Class AAA the entire season (aside from two spot starts during doubleheaders) specifically to take over the rotation spot that will become vacant when Stephen Strasburg is shut down.

Lannan, owner of a career 40-51 record and 3.99 ERA in 130 big-league starts, finished off his minor-league season in impressive fashion, tossing back-to-back, nine-inning shutouts. That helped reinforce the club's plan to keep a 5 million pitcher at Class AAA the entire season, if only to have him available for a handful of late-September starts.

"It's great," Johnson said. "He's had a great attitude down there and come up and really been excited about coming up and helping us win. ... I think his arm and his head and everything is in the right spot. There was never going to be any doubt of who was going to be the guy that came in to replace Stras. There have been all kinds of other guys available, but that's how high we are on John."

Leon will serve as the Nationals' third catcher, giving Johnson the ability to use one of his veterans (Kurt Suzuki or Jesus Flores) as a pinch-hitter without risk of losing his only remaining backstop.

Perez is the least-experienced of the call-ups, having appeared in only 40 games at Class AAA. But the 22-year-old outfielder possesses one key skill the Nationals hope to use to their advantage: speed. Perez has stolen 51 bases this season, and he'll be asked to serve as a pinch-runner in key spots down the stretch.

DeRosa, meanwhile, hopes to enjoy some late success at the end of a frustrating season. The 37-year-old was expected to be a big contributor off the bench, but he's battled injuries to his oblique and abdominal muscles and has hit only .152 in 34 games.

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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.