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Nats' bench coach Chris Speier goes 'full circle' in coming to D.C.

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Nats' bench coach Chris Speier goes 'full circle' in coming to D.C.

In coming to Washington to join the Nationals' coaching staff, bench coach Chris Speier is once again reuniting with Dusty Baker, whom he served under with both the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. It also represents a bit of irony for Speier, who was drafted by the Washington Senators back in 1968. He didn't sign, but does appreciate the significance now that he is in D.C.

"Full circle. Yeah, Washington Senators, 1968. So it's great. Couldn't have dreamed it," Speier said.

Speier comes to Washington hoping to help his good friend Baker get the only thing that is missing on his managerial résumé: a World Series ring.

"I know Dusty doesn't have one as a manager. That's a big, big goal for me, for him to finally put that on his legacy," Speier said.

"When [Baker] got that phone call and he called me, I said 'let's go do this thing.' There's a piece of business that's been incomplete and that's the World Series and what a great opportunity with a great team. We're excited."

The Nationals are getting a pair of coaches who have been friends and colleagues for decades. Needless to say, they know each other well.

"Dusty is, number one, I just have to say, away from the baseball side, is probably one of the greatest human beings that I've ever met, most giving man that I've been around in a long, long time," Speier explained. "A lot of things that he does off the field for a lot of different people go unnoticed. He makes my position easy. There's very little that he demands... he's a great delegator."

Speier shared some insight into why Baker is generally very popular among his players.

"Dusty's whole thing is 'be honest with me. If you ever need anything, come to me.' His big thing is let's keep things as quiet as we possibly can and not go to you guys (media) with things. He treats men as men. He trusts them and they know that he can be trusted. I think that's something that has been, ever since he's been a man, that's how he approaches things," Speier said.

Speier expects to focus mainly on the defense as an assistant on the Nationals' staff. It's his specialty and he plans to use analytics to help develop gameplans.

"I love [analytics]. I've always been a guy that looks at tendencies, percentages, but the one thing that I like to bring into it is, for me, it always comes down to the starting pitcher or the pitcher that's at hand and asking them are you ok with this? This is what we're going to do, this is what we'd like to do. Now are you going to pitch accordingly to the shift or do we need to make some adjustments? So the analytical part, I've always been a big believer in.

"It comes down to tendencies. Tendencies have been around since the inception of baseball. If you play those tendencies and if some things become extreme then you might go extremes so I'm on board with it," he said.

[RELATED: Span plans to work out for interested teams in early 2016]

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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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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.