GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday that he anticipated Juan Soto would return from the Injured List, “... maybe towards the end of this road trip,” which is set to wrap up tomorrow with the series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Dodger Stadium.
Soto, 20, ended up on the 10-Day IL back on May 4th, when back spasms, which had kept him out of the lineup finally led the Nationals to make the decision to force him to rest up.
“He was fighting us, but we don’t want to take a chance this becomes something bigger,” manager Dave Martinez told reporters, as quoted by MLB.com’s Jamal Collier.
“We’ve got to get him right.”
Before the injury, Soto was heating up after a slow start to the outfielder’s sophomore season, as he tried to adjust to the fact that he wasn’t seeing many fastballs.
Soto has seen a National League low 43% fastballs early this season, after he hit .386 with 15 of his 22 home runs off heaters in 2018.
Soto had hits in seven of eight games before the back spasms took him out of the lineup, with three homers, four walks, and eight Ks in 37 PAs in that stretch, and a .248/.368./467 line on the season when he went on the IL.
Martinez told reporters before the series opener in LA that Soto was progressing towards a return.
“He took swings yesterday in the cage,” Martinez said, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.
“He took 25 swings off the tee, 25 soft tosses, which is his routine. He said he felt good. He’s going to go out today and maybe take some batting practice, and we’ll see where he’s at after the game.”
Soto was set to go through a full workout on Friday as his teammates prepared to play the second of four with the Dodgers.
“He’s doing good,” Martinez told reporters, again, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.
“He’s going to do full activity today. Ground balls, fly balls, hit, on the field, run the bases. And if everything goes well, then hopefully, we activate him tomorrow.”
Martinez said if he came out of all that feeling good, he’d be reinstated from the IL today, and the Nationals made it official this afternoon.
Soto is back off the IL and Jake Noll is headed back to Triple-A to make room on the roster.