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Mattingly's departure could impact Nats' search

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Mattingly's departure could impact Nats' search

Just as the Nationals' managerial search appeared to be poised to enter a more advanced phase, a development on the other side of the country could throw some wrenches into the plan.

Don Mattingly's departure from Los Angeles early Thursday morning will have ripple effects across the majors, with the former All-Star first baseman now available for hire elsewhere and an attractive Dodgers job now open for several candidates already up for other managerial positions, including in Washington.

Given general manager Mike Rizzo's stated preference for a new manager with experience, Mattingly would be a logical candidate at least to speak with the Nationals. Owner of a .551 winning percentage and three division titles in five seasons with the Dodgers, he is a well-respected figure around the sport with plenty of experience managing a club in a big market with lofty expectations and several high-salaried star players. Questions about his ability to get along with some of those star players in Los Angeles, though, could be a detriment from the Nationals' perspective.

RELATED: Nationals roster review: Max Scherzer

Mattingly, 54, will have other suitors. The Marlins reportedly are interested and could make an aggressive push to hire him. The Mariners and Padres also are currently seeking new managers.

Even if the Nationals aren't seriously interested in Mattingly, his sudden availability could have a domino effect on their ongoing search. Among those the Dodgers could now consider include former Padres manager Bud Black (seen by many as the best fit in Washington), Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez (seen as a potential Nationals candidate now that Chicago has been eliminated from the postseason) and Dodgers bench coach Tim Wallach (who has interviewed with the Nats, according to Yahoo! Sports).

The Nationals are close to wrapping up their initial round of interviews, having already met with at least eight candidates, according to sources with knowledge of their search: Black; Wallach; former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire; former Giants, Cubs and Reds manager Dusty Baker; Giants bench coach Ron Wotus; Diamondbacks third base coach Andy Green; Diamondbacks Class AAA manager Phil Nevin; and former big-league infielder Alex Cora.

MORE NATIONALS: Report: Nats interviewed D-Backs coach for manager job

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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.