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Thumb swollen, Scherzer can't throw in bullpen

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Thumb swollen, Scherzer can't throw in bullpen

MIAMI — Max Scherzer’s right thumb remains swollen, enough that the Nationals ace couldn’t throw his standard between-starts bullpen session Saturday, leaving his status for his next start somewhat in question.

Scherzer was jammed while hitting during Thursday’s game against the Cardinals. He remained in the game for two more innings but was pulled with his pitch count at 82 in part because he felt he wasn’t getting a good grip on the ball.

Like most pitchers, Scherzer throws off a bullpen mound two days after a start. But he wasn’t able to take the mound Saturday afternoon at Marlins Park. He’ll try again before Sunday’s game.

“Still a little sore and swollen, so we pushed his bullpen a day to try to get the rest out of there,” manager Matt Williams said. “We’ll see how it goes after that, but it’s swollen.”

Williams said no X-rays are needed on Scherzer’s thumb, only time to let the swelling go down. But the Nationals won’t let him take the mound for another start — he’s next scheduled to go Tuesday in Atlanta — until he has shown he can throw all his pitches with no issues.

“Yeah, he’d need to throw,” Williams said. “We need to make sure sure he can effectively throw all of his pitches. And there’s only one way to do that: Get him out on a mound.”

If Scherzer isn’t able to do that in time to start Tuesday night, the Nationals would face a dilemma. Tanner Roark hasn’t been stretched out and probably couldn’t be counted on for more than about four innings in a spot start. But to call up a starter from Class AAA Syracuse, the club would need either to send someone else down or place Scherzer on the 15-day disabled list, forcing him to miss three starts.

No matter what, the Nationals don’t seem inclined to take a chance on pitching Scherzer before he’s absolutely ready to go again.

“What we don’t want is for him to go out there, even in a side (session), and adjust his grip or adjust the way he throws and have something else go haywire,” Williams said. “We don’t want that. We’ll get the swelling out of there and make sure he’s fully OK before he does it. We’ll see how it is tomorrow.”

[MORE NATIONALS: Lack of late-inning execution holding back Nats]

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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.