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Slumping and hurting, Zimmerman out of lineup

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Slumping and hurting, Zimmerman out of lineup

NEW YORK — Ryan Zimmerman, mired in one of the worst slumps of his career and dealing with a lingering foot injury, was out of the Nationals lineup Wednesday, the third time he hasn’t played in four days.

Zimmerman has tried to play through plantar fasciitis in his left foot most of the season, but the ailment hadn’t kept him out of the lineup until Sunday, when he sat for the Nationals’ series finale against the Cubs. The club was off Monday, but Zimmerman again didn’t look comfortable at the plate during Tuesday night’s 6-1 loss to the Yankees, prompting another day off Wednesday.

“It’s not like it’s a pulled muscle, so it’s something that bothers him differently every day,” manager Matt Williams said of the injury, which is a stretched or inflamed ligament in the sole of the foot. “Some days it’s better than others. Some days it doesn’t go well. We’ll see.”

Whether it’s entirely a byproduct of the foot injury or something else, Zimmerman is stuck in a prolonged slump, the likes of which he has rarely endured during his decade in the major leagues. He ended play Tuesday hitting just .209 with a .265 on-base percentage, five homers and 34 RBI. He ranks last among 26 qualifying MLB first basemen with a .611 OPS and -0.5 WAR.

Zimmerman currently finds himself in a 4-for-46 slump, capped by Tuesday’s 0-for-4 performance.

“The issue is that if you’re hampered, you have to look at the source of all of the struggle, whether it’s physical or timing, whether it’s a combination of both,” Williams said. “That being said, we have to make sure that we’re monitoring him physically first. He’s a pro. He understands how to hit and he’s proven that over time.

“He’ll be fine. I fully expect him to be, at the end of the year, where he normally is. He’s gone through a little of a tough stretch lately. That being said, he knows how to get out of it, too. No. 1 concern for me is physical health and the foot and making sure that he’s able to get out there and play and do what he wants to do. We monitor that every day and make decisions on it every day as well.”

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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.