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Storen begins rehab Thursday

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Storen begins rehab Thursday

Drew Storen is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Potomac on Thursday, putting the Nationals reliever on track to come off the disabled list for the club's first game after next week's All-Star break.

Storen (out since spring training with a bone spur in his elbow) will make four rehab appearances, manager Davey Johnson said, pitching every other day. That would make his final outing July 11 and leave him available to appear out of the Nationals' bullpen July 13 in Miami.

"That's the plan," Johnson said. "I think that would be enough."

The Nationals also expect to have Henry Rodriguez back in a matter of days. The right-hander, on the DL with a finger strain, has made seven rehab appearances for Class AA Harrisburg and Class AAA Syracuse and has yet to allow a hit (though he has walked five batters).

The return of both Storen and Rodriguez will force the Nationals to clear two spots in their bullpen, and one of those spots is likely the one currently held by Chien-Ming Wang. The veteran right-hander has not adapted well to a long relief role, and now the club believes he may not be 100 percent healthy.

Wang's personal trainer, who has been traveling with the club for the last week, believes he's been unable to raise his arm to a proper angle to throw his sinker because of a problem with his hip.

"She thinks that he's some kind of out of whack, because he's not able to get in the position he needs to be where he's on top," Johnson said. "So she's been putting him through exercises and stuff to try to get his mechanics better. But that's a work in progress."

It's possible the Nationals would determine Wang needs to be placed back on the DL.

Meanwhile, bench players Chad Tracy (groin) and Xavier Nady (wrist) might also begin rehab assignments Thursday at Potomac.

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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.