UPDATE: 3:17 PM EDT - Juan Soto has been scratched again, for the second game in a row after he was initially included in the Nationals’ lineup. We’ve included the updated lineup below, and the Nats’ PR folks who sent out the updated lineup said he is once again able to come off the bench to pinch hit if necessary. Safe to assume Davey Martinez will be asked about this development in his post-game presser as the Nationals prepare to head to Philly for a three-game set this weekend. More info when it’s available. Victor Robles is back out in right field, because that worked so well last night. That was sarcasm, there is no sarcasm font here like there is in the comments.
Juan Soto was penciled into the Washington Nationals’ lineup when it was first announced on Wednesday afternoon, but a little while later the Nats sent out an updated lineup.
Soto’s name was not included in the second version, with the Nationals noting that the 20-year-old slugger had back spasms, though they wrote that he was available off the bench.
Following the third straight loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, which was the Nats’ seventh loss in the last ten games, manager Davey Martinez explained the late scratch of his left fielder.
“He’s okay,” Martinez said.
“He had back spasms right before the game, and I didn’t want to take any chances with him, and hopefully tomorrow he comes back and he’s fine and he’s ready to go.”
Soto started the season 3 for 16 in the first four games (.188/.235/.250) with a double, walk, and nine Ks in his first 17 plate appearances, but since then the runner-up for the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year award has gone 23 for 89 (.258/.389/.506) with four doubles, six home runs, 18 walks, and 23 Ks in 108 PAs, and he extended a 15-game on-base streak on Tuesday night.
Martinez was asked if last night’s spasms were the first issue Soto’s had with his back, or if it was an existing problem.
“No, it’s the first,” Martinez said.
“He was getting ready for the game, taking swings and he felt it, and couldn’t get them to go away before the game, so we just kind of — as the game progressed he got better, but still, you know, we didn’t let him hit or do anything today, after that.”
Soto’s back in there today for the series finale with the Cards in the nation’s capital. Carter Kieboom is getting a day off after a tough night, with Wilmer Difo getting a start at short in the fourth of fourth with the Cardinals.