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Williams on criticism: "All the facts aren't out there"

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Williams on criticism: "All the facts aren't out there"

ATLANTA — Matt Williams defended himself Wednesday against a new round of harsh criticism levied at him, saying “all of the facts aren’t out there” but declining to go into more detail at this point, with five games still remaining on the Nationals’ schedule.

Responding to a question about a Washington Post expose detailing the Nationals’ season that included several unflattering anecdotes about his performance as manager, Williams suggested there was more to the story and he would share his side of it at a later date.

“I think if we’re going to talk about it, it’s going to take longer than a conference like this,” Williams said during his daily pregame session with reporters, this one in the dugout at Turner Field. “And I think you have to have all the facts. I mean all of them. So that being said, I’ll hold my comments for now. Because all of the facts aren’t out there.”

MORE NATS: IAN DESMOND IN ELITE COMPANY 

Among the charges outlined against Williams in the article were accusations of bullpen mismanagement, a heated encounter with Jayson Werth when the veteran outfielder was left out of the lineup one day and an overall lack of communication with his players.

“He’s like the guy in his house who hears a sound, like someone breaking in,” one anonymous player was quoted as saying in the article. “And his reaction isn’t to take care of the problem or investigate. It’s to put his head under the pillow and hope it goes away.”

Williams, the reigning NL Manager of the Year who had his contract option for 2016 picked up by the Nationals during spring training, has come under intense scrutiny this season, particularly as his team collapsed down the stretch and lost the division title to the Mets.

General manager Mike Rizzo repeatedly has said no decisions will be made about the manager’s future until the season is over, which has left Williams in the uncomfortable position of dealing with constant speculation about his position while still finishing out the string of a difficult season.

“It doesn’t feel good,” he admitted Wednesday. “It doesn’t feel good to have all of these words said. But it is what it is, and we will move on from today. But I would say that we have a few games to play, and we need to play well. That’s what I’m concentrating on now. And we’ll deal with it at the appropriate time.”

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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.