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Zimmerman gets another cortisone shot, offseason surgery likely

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Zimmerman gets another cortisone shot, offseason surgery likely

Upon receiving a cortisone shot in his ailing right shoulder on June 24, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman acknowledged he might need another one (or more) before season's end.

Nearly three months later, the time finally came.

Zimmerman received a shot prior to today's doubleheader against the Dodgers, a step taken after a recent recurrence of discomfort in the shoulder, and one designed to allow him to finish the season before he's likely to require arthroscopic surgery.

The Nationals said the discomfort Zimmerman has been feeling isn't as severe as it was in June, when he got his last shot prior to the club's series finale in Baltimore.

"I think the difference between this one and the one in Baltimore is that he wants the cortisone shot now, because he's feeling it a little bit," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "In Baltimore, he needed the cortisone shot to perform up to his standards. That's the big difference."

Zimmerman has been dealing with the injury -- diagnosed as a sprained AC joint in his shoulder -- since April, and he's now received four shots over the course of the year. The first two didn't make much difference, but the one he received on June 24 turned his season around. In 55 games prior to that date, he hit .218 with three homers, 22 RBI and a .590 OPS. In 75 games since that shot, he's hit .332 with 19 homers, 62 RBI and a .994 OPS.

Zimmerman's production hasn't dropped much at all in recent weeks -- he's hitting .298 with five homers in September -- but the discomfort was recurring enough to convince him to take this step.

"He's playing great as far as I'm concerned," manager Davey Johnson said. "But the results from the last time he did it were so good, and he felt so much better."

Both Johnson and Rizzo confirmed what has been suspected for some time: Zimmerman will likely need arthroscopic surgery to clean up the shoulder during the offseason. That procedure would be considered minor, and Zimmerman would be fully healed well before the start of spring training.

"I think it's something that's been discussed a couple times from three months ago, and we even discussed it a little bit last night," Johnson said. "It's something that will definitely be seriously considered."

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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.