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Nats put Strasburg on the disabled list

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Nats put Strasburg on the disabled list

Conceding their once-dominant right-hander couldn’t continue to pitch through the worst prolonged slump of his career, the Nationals placed Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with neck tightness.

Fellow right-hander Taylor Hill was recalled from Class AAA Syracuse to take Strasburg’s roster spot and provide a fresh arm out of the bullpen for Saturday’s game in Cincinnati.

The transaction comes less than 24 hours after Strasburg departed his start at Great American Ball Park one batter into the second inning, complaining of tightness in his left trapezius muscle. That was merely the latest evidence of Stasburg’s discomfort while pitching, something that has come to define his last month on the mound.

Strasburg has failed to complete four innings in four of his last five starts, one of which was cut short by discomfort under his right shoulder blade, two others by ineffective performance. Overall, he’s now 3-5 with a 6.55 ERA in 10 starts this season, giving up five more hits per nine innings than he did in his career prior to 2015.

Through it all, Strasburg has not shown traditional signs of injury. His fastball has averaged 95 mph in each of his last six starts, identical to his last three seasons, suggesting no physical issue with his shoulder or elbow.

Now, the Nationals will have at least two weeks to figure out what has caused Strasburg’s neck and upper back problems, prompting altered mechanics and poor command.

This is the fourth time Strasburg has gone on the DL in his career. He missed two weeks in 2010 with shoulder inflammation, then tore his elbow ligament later that summer and missed 12 months following Tommy John surgery. He also missed 15 days with a strained lat muscle in 2013.

Hill joins the Nationals’ bullpen after going 3-2 with a 4.35 ERA in nine starts at Syracuse this season. The 26-year-old right-hander made his major-league debut last year, posting a 9.00 ERA in three games (including one start).

Taylor Jordan, who tossed 4 2/3 innings in emergency relief Friday, would appear to be the most-likely candidate to take Strasburg’s rotation spot for the immediate future.

[MORE NATIONALS: CINGRANI DOESN'T FEEL BAD ABOUT HITTING HARPER]

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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.