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Nats rookie fractures hand in first career start

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Nats rookie fractures hand in first career start

NEW YORK — Wilmer Difo fractured a bone in his hand diving into first base Saturday night, an unfortunate and abrupt end to the rookie’s first career start for the Nationals.

Difo suffered a fracture of the fourth metacarpal bone in his left hand, the club announced following Saturday’s 2-0 victory over the Mets. Recovery time for that type of injury is typically 6-to-8 weeks, which shouldn’t disrupt Difo’s offseason program much.

The injury occurred in the top of the third inning at Citi Field, as Difo tried to beat out a grounder to first base. With the Mets’ Michael Cuddyer tossing the ball to a hard-charging Matt Harvey, Difo dove headfirst into the base, slamming his left hand into the side of the bag. Umpire Jim Wolf initially ruled out on the play, but the Nationals challenged the call and won on appeal after review officials in nearby Manhattan overturned it into a single, the Nats’ first hit off Harvey.

Difo remained in the game to run the bases, but when the bottom of the third arrived, Dan Uggla took his position at second base.

This was Difo’s first career start in the big leagues and only his second appearance in the field. He had appeared in 13 previous games as a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner.

The 23-year-old infielder finished with two hits in 11 at-bats, scoring one run and striking out twice. He hit a combined .286 with five homers, 53 RBI, 30 stolen bases and a .325 on-base percentage in 106 minor-league games between Class A Potomac and Class AA Harrisburg.

RELATED: Putting Scherzer's no-hitters into historical context

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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.