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Nats send Moore to AAA, calling up Solano

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Nats send Moore to AAA, calling up Solano

MIAMI -- Desperately in need of another healthy catcher, the Nationals optioned outfielderfirst baseman Tyler Moore to Class AAA Syracuse following today's game and made plans to get Jhonatan Solano to Miami in time for tomorrow night's game against the Marlins.

Though they played today with only one healthy catcher in Carlos Maldonado, and though they believe Jesus Flores (who strained his right hamstring last night in Atlanta) should be ready to return in a matter of days, the Nationals decided not to take any chances and promote Solano.

"I would hate for him to pull a hamstring or something by me rushing him back in the lineup," manager Davey Johnson said following a 5-3 loss to Miami. "Just had to make that move. I didn't see any other way to safeguard. ... If you pull it a little bit and then you injure it, you're out a long time. We can't afford that."

The 26-year-old Solano will make his big-league debut, and he'll do so on the same field with his younger brother Donovan, called up by the Marlins last week.

Solano was hitting .250 with two RBI in 13 games for Syracuse, but he only recently returned from a back injury. He'll become the fifth catcher on the Nationals' big-league roster already this season after Opening Day starter Wilson Ramos tore his ACL and replacement Sandy Leon sprained his ankle four innings into his major-league debut.

Solano's promotion comes at the expense of Moore, who arrived late last month amid much hype after blasting seven early home runs at Syracuse but rarely got a chance to take his hacks with the Nationals. In 12 total games, Moore went 3-for-19 with seven strikeouts.

A natural first baseman, Moore did not start a game there with Adam LaRoche firmly holding down his everyday job. He wound up seeing most of his time in left field, starting five games against left-handed pitchers.

"That's not the role you want for a young player: a young, talented prospect, sitting there and playing against a left-hander occasionally," Johnson said. "So he's better off going to Class AAA and playing. We think highly of him, and he's got a great future here."

Moore, who clubbed 31 homers each of the last two seasons at Class A and Class AA, said he gained valuable experience sitting on the bench and learning how the game is played at this big-league level and didn't complain about his lack of playing time.

"It was real tough, but at the same time, we were winning games," he said. "So it wasn't that tough. Everything's better when you're winning. And you can't really put me in there when all the guys are playing great. It's not like we're losing. I definitely understand the situation. We need another player."

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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.