Nationals

Quick Links

UPDATED: Nats announce four roster moves ahead of O's series

usatsi_8586691.jpg

UPDATED: Nats announce four roster moves ahead of O's series

[UPDATED: 6:12 p.m.]

BALTIMORE — The Nationals placed Denard Span on the disabled list and Jordan Zimmermann on the paternity leave list Friday afternoon, part of a flurry of roster moves before the start of their weekend series against the Orioles.

Infielder Wilmer Difo was recalled from Class AA Harrisburg to take Span's roster spot and give the Nationals another position player this weekend. Reliever Aaron Barrett, meanwhile, was activated off the DL after missing 24 games with a right biceps strain, and will take Zimmermann's roster spot for now.

Span's placement on the 15-day DL — the team officially says he has back tightness — had been surmised for several days. The injured center fielder flew to Dallas on Thursday to be examined by a specialist after a month spent dealing with occasional back spasms and made it clear he did not expect to play at all in this weekend's series.

Manager Matt Williams said the MRI found no structural damage and they believe he will be able to return soon after games resume following the All-Star break.

"It's good news. The results of the MRI and the specialist he saw found nothing alarming, which is good," Williams said. "We have to look at his history and look at the two surgeries he had this winter and say that there's some changes in there. So we have to address them. We have him another set of exercises to further his strength. He'll start that process and he'll be back quickly, so that's a good sign."

That roster move is retroactive to July 7, so Span will be eligible to return as soon as July 22. With the All-Star break next week, he could wind up missing as few as nine games, assuming he's not more seriously injured.

Span expressed worry before he left for Dallas that his back injury was something serious, that it could jeopardize his career. Williams said those feelings are understandable and that Span is relieved to know his diagnosis.

"You can understand that. You don't know why something is happening and you're trying to figure it all out. Some days are good, some days are not so good. All the news is great, that will give him a sense of relief. It is certainly a relief for all of us and it will allow him to get aggressive in his rehab to get back in this short time," Williams explained.

Zimmermann, meanwhile, will start on Saturday. Sunday's starter has yet to be determined, though all indications point to Max Scherzer getting the nod.

Barrett returns to the Nationals' bullpen after missing nearly four weeks with a biceps strain. The right-hander was 3-2 with a 5.06 ERA in 30 games before suffering the injury while throwing a pitch in Milwaukee, but did not surrender a run in four rehab appearances with Class A Potomac.

Barrett's injury looked ominous at the time, and he admitted Friday he was initially worried he had suffered serious damage to his arm.

"A couple outings before that, it was really bothering me," he said. "And then when I pitched in that game, the last five or six pitches, I literally couldn't feel my arm. So it definitely scared me, for sure. I didn't know if it was anything more serious than it was. I think if I would've continued to go on, I think I could've really hurt something more extreme. It could be a blessing in disguise. Hopefully I caught it before it got worse."

Quick Links

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

usatsi_10847206.jpg
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.

Quick Links

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

screen_shot_2018-05-21_at_7.52.30_pm.png
@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.