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Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto injures ankle in series finale with New York Mets

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Juan Soto suffered a mild sprain of his right ankle when he rolled it trying to pull up around third base on a two-run hit by Asdrúbal Cabrera in the seventh inning of Sunday’s series finale...

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

In addition to dropping two of three in Citi Field, the Washington Nationals lost Juan Soto to an injury in Sunday afternoon’s series finale with the New York Mets, though manager Davey Martinez told reporters after the Nationals salvaged the third of three with the NL East rivals that he didn’t think it would be a long-term problem.

“He’s got a mild [sprain]*,” Martinez said. “X-rays are negative, so he’s going to be day-to-day.”

Soto rolled his right ankle trying to pull up at third base when Bob Henley threw up a stop sign on Asdrúbal Cabrera’s two-out, bases-loaded double in the seventh.

Two runs scored on the go-ahead hit to right field, but Mets’ right fielder Jeff McNeil cut the ball off in the corner and hit the cutoff man with a strong throw in so Henley tried to get the Nationals’ outfielder to stop, but Soto, who was running from first, rolled the ankle, went by the bag, and was tagged out to end the inning.

Soto tested the ankle as he talked to trainer Paul Lessard and the Nats’ skipper, but left the game at that point.

“He wanted to go back out there,” Martinez said, “... and I was fighting him, just, ‘C’mon, let’s take care of this,’ but hopefully in a day or two he’s good to go.”

“I wanted to go out there,” Soto told reporters, as quoted by MLB.com’s Bill Ladson after the win in the finale.

“They said, ‘No stay here. Let’s see what you have.’ Then [Gerardo] Parra comes to me and says, ‘Hey, we got this. We have two more innings. Go inside and be ready for tomorrow.’”

Soto was going strong before the injury, with a 16-game on-base streak going into the third of three in Citi Field, over which he was 17 for 57 (.298/.438./.719) with three doubles, seven home runs, and 15 walks, and he walked in his first plate appearance, extending it to 17. He was 0 for 2 before he walked again in the seventh, loading the bases with one down before Cabrera’s hit.

Soto has injured the right ankle before, back in 2017, when he was playing at High-A in the Nationals’ system, and hurt the ankle sliding into home plate.

He was replaced in the lineup by Victor Robles on Sunday, with Robles coming on to play center while Gerardo Parra shifted over to left, and Robles, the 21-year-old outfielder, put the Nationals up by three with a two-run blast in the top of the ninth, 7-4.

“I was really happy when Victor hit the homer,” Soto joked, as quoted on MLB.com. “I told the trainers, ‘I just came out to let him hit a homer.’”

“That was planned,” Martinez said in his own post game press conference. “No, I mean, hey, he’s always ready. Regardless of whether he starts or he’s off the bench, he’s always ready to help us win, and that was a huge homer.”

Will Soto return for tonight’s game? Or will the 20-year-old outfielder get a couple days off to let the ankle heal, assuming that the initial diagnosis of a mild strain is accurate?

[ed. note - * = Davey Martinez said Soto suffered a ‘mild strain’ of his right ankle in his post game presser, but the Nationals’ PR team corrected the record that it was a ‘mild sprain’ and we made the change after initially going with the direct quote.”]