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Robinson reflects on Nats tenure after Ring of Honor induction

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Robinson reflects on Nats tenure after Ring of Honor induction

Just before the start of Saturday's game against the Braves, Nationals fans had a chance to welcome back one of the franchise's most beloved members. The club honored its first-ever manager, Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who threw out the first pitch and was inducted to the Ring of Honor as apart of celebrating the team's 10th anniversary season in the nation's capital. 

"It's important to to me because it makes me feel [wanted] and appreciated," Robinson said of the honor. "I'll always have a special place in my heart for this team." 

The 79-year old Robinson was all smiles as he reflected on his time with the Nats, which was highlighted by the organization's 2005 move from Montreal to give Washington a baseball team for the first time in 34 years. 

"We were excited about [the move]," he said. "It was a good situation for us coming away from Montreal although it was kind of bittersweet leaving those fans up there because those 5,000 die hard fans were great. But it was good to be coming to an exciting team and fans that were ready to support their team coming to this [city]."

Robinson said he still watches the club closely, and with a keen eye on Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond, who were both in the organization when he was still manager. Robinson said he had a chance to talk to both players in the clubhouse before the game. 

"[It was like] like family," Robinson said. "It was very touching. I'm always glad to see those guys, because they're very outstanding people. Not just good baseball players, but they're outstanding people. I appreciate them thinking about me and keeping me alive in their lives. I feel very special about them and they have a very special place in my life."

Robinson, of course, was known for far more than just his managerial abilities. He was considered a five-tool player during his days with the Cincinnati Reds and the Baltimore Orioles in the 1960s through the early 1970s, winning both the NL and AL MVP awards. So naturally he was asked to give his take on Nats' budding superstar Bryce Harper. 

"I remember reading a lot about him and couldn't wait to see him," he said of the 22-year-old outfielder. "It took him a couple years to really get his feet on the ground. I think he now understands the pitchers in the league, what they're trying to do to him and make some adjustments.

"He's the real thing. I think you're gonna see a lot of exciting things out of this this young man for a lot of years." 

But all the things that he discussed, the former skipper appeared to be most pleased with the transformation the organization has made from being a bottom feeder in the NL East to being considered a World Series title contender. 

"They're right there now," Robinson said. "They're there. It's only a matter of time. And in the next few years, if not this year, you're gonna see a World Series flag flying from the flagpole in centerfield."

[RELATED: Strasburg throws bullpen, says he does not have shoulder injury]

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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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.