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Updated: Nats introduce Dusty Baker as new manager

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Updated: Nats introduce Dusty Baker as new manager

Updated: 2:09 p.m.

New Nationals manager Dusty Baker walked into the interview room at Nats Park behind general manager Mike Rizzo. He thanked the ownership that was sitting to his left. He put on his No. 12 jersey and Nationals 'Curly W' hat.

He then proceeded to own the room like a man with his résumé and star power should. The Nationals hired a manager who has been there and done that across decades in the major leagues and one who can pull from his own life experience as a player, a coach and a man to answer any question asked.

Baker quoted Bill Russell, Bill Walsh and Nelson Mandela. He mentioned his acquaintance with President Barack Obama and other Washington politicians. He spoke of playing with Hank Aaron, coaching Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Joey Votto. He even invoked Stevie Wonder and The Doors when explaining how his style of coaching can transcend the tests of time.

If Matt Williams won his introductory press conference, what Dusty Baker accomplished was something else.

"I've always thought about possibly managing here in the District and in Washington, D.C. I see a lot of faces that I recognize. I have family and friends and my god-children are in Maryland. It's like a family. It's like coming home to a family," Baker said.

Baker has been a big league manager for 20 seasons and has reached the World Series once, losing in seven games to the Angels in 2002. That's as close as one can get without winning a title, and Baker made it clear that is his goal.

"You hate to have voids in your life. You can live without them, but I'd rather not," he said.

This is Baker's fourth managing job and he called it his last. He spoke about how much it means to him and his family to be given this opportunity.

"This is a big occasion in my life and in my family's life. My son and daughter are very, very excited. My son gave me a whole list of Nationals shirts and jackets and jerseys and things that he wanted," he said.

Baker was introduced as the Nats' new manager after a bizarre saga that involved initial reports Bud Black would be the guy. General manager Mike Rizzo addressed that situation after the press conference.

"Well, that was wrong," Rizzo said. "We had a very exhaustive process. We started off with nine candidates that we interviewed. We went painstakingly through each candidate. We finally called back seven of them and didn't tell them that they weren't in consideration for the job. We widdled it down to the final two candidates in Bud and Dusty and at the end of the day decided to go with Dusty."

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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.