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Strasburg takes big step in rehab; Escobar sits again

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Strasburg takes big step in rehab; Escobar sits again

The Nationals had some good news and some bad on the injury front Saturday as they got ready to take on the Chicago Cubs in an early afternoon start.

The good news was Stephen Strasburg threw a bullpen session for the first time in his recovery from a strained left trapezius muscle. The bad news was Yunel Escobar is out for the second straight day with a sore right wrist.

Manager Matt Williams said Strasburg threw 30 pitches.

"He threw 30 pitches today. All of his pitches in the bullpen and he came out of it feeling good."

Strasburg was placed on the 15-day disabled list May 30. He was removed from his start the day before in Cincinnati in the second inning with what was first described as neck tightness.

Strasburg has struggled this season while battling an assortment of minor injuries. He is 3-5 with a 6.55 ERA on the year.

Escobar hurt his wrist on a check-swing in the first inning of Thursday night's series opener against the Cubs. He had an x-ray that showed no broken bones, but his wrist remains sore.

Williams said Escobar's wrist injury is not likely to land him on the disabled list.

"I wouldn't anticipate it, but you never know," he said. "Escobar is okay. He'll get in here and get some treatment. Get in the cage and see what he feels like. He was available yesterday to play defense. We'll see where he's at."

Escobar is batting .316 this season with two homers, 14 RBI and 28 runs.

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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.