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Morse could return to Nats Friday

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Morse could return to Nats Friday

MIAMI -- Having successfully made it through his first rehab game at Class A Potomac, Michael Morse could be on target to return to the Nationals lineup as soon as Friday.

Manager Davey Johnson said Morse (out since early March with a torn lat muscle) has been making throws from the outfield during pregame drills and will likely start in the outfield for Potomac tomorrow night after serving as designated hitter again tonight.

Morse made two plate appearances during last night's rain-shortened game in Woodbridge, walking once and striking out once.

"The timing's a little off, but other than that he feels fit and ready to go," Johnson said. "So his timetable will probably be sped up. We'll see how he does today and tomorrow, but he could be back in D.C. soon."

Asked if that means it's possible Morse could come off the disabled list in time for Friday's homestand opener against the Braves, Johnson replied: "I'd say it's an outside possibility."

There was some thought Morse might only be available to hit for a while upon his return and would thus serve as DH for next weekend's interleague series in Boston. But Johnson said today he won't hesitate to put Morse in the lineup as soon as he returns.

"I'd throw him right out there," the manager said. "If he's able to go, I'll throw him right in the lineup. He might connect and hit one hard. And it would be a welcome addition. ... Why waste the at-bats in Potomac?"

When Morse does return, don't be surprised if he does so at different position than originally planned. Steve Lombardozzi's emergence as a viable leadoff hitter and left fielder will probably convince Johnson to move Morse to right field and slide Bryce Harper to center field.

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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.