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Washington Nationals Injury Updates: Juan Soto ankle injury scare, Howie Kendrick returns from IL stint...

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Before tonight’s game, both Juan Soto and Davey Martinez said it looks like the outfielder avoided a serious injury...

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Davey Martinez almost choked on his sunflower seeds when he saw 21-year-old outfielder Juan Soto roll his ankle running around third base in Sunday’s series finale in Citi Field.

“I was chewing seeds when I saw that and almost choked,” he said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman before the series opener with the Cincinnati Reds in the nation’s capital.

“After that, we got the initial X-ray back and it was negative, a mild sprain. It was a relief.”

Soto told reporters in New York after the third of three with the Mets, that he felt better and didn’t think he would miss much time.

“I feel a little better now,” he said. “Walking is getting better right now.”

But it was a scary moment for the second-year National, who finished the series with the Mets with a 17-game on-base streak and a .288/.402/.540 line, 18 doubles, four triples, 24 home runs, 75 walks, and 10 stolen bases in 107 games and 407 plate appearances, over which he’s been worth 3.2 fWAR.

He was trying to score from first when he injured the ankle trying to pull up around third base when he got a late stop sign.

“I just went 100% running to the plate,” Soto explained, “and then [Third Base coach] Bobby [Henley] tried to stop me, so when I tried to stop my ankle just rolled over, then I just started to go back and I [couldn’t].

“I just stayed there and made myself out, and after that I just started feeling some pinches in my ankle, but right now it’s feeling better.”

“He’s going to go out and hit a little bit, and potentially he’ll be ready to pinch hit if we need him,” Martinez told reporters before Monday’s game.

“We just want to make sure. He was a little bit sore. Just kind of keep him off his feet, but hopefully he’ll be ready to pinch hit in a big moment.”

Soto said he felt much better when he arrived at Nationals Park.

“I’m feeling really good now,” Soto said, as quoted on MASN. “It’s not swelling or anything, and it looks real good.”

“He’s going to be OK,” Martinez added.

“It’s just a matter of strengthening it. He’s taped up. He was pretty adamant today that he wanted to do stuff. ... He wants to play, but we said: ‘Let’s just take our time and see. If you’re available to pinch-hit, great. We will put you in a situation where we need you.’ But I’m assuming that with what the medical staff is saying, it won’t be really long.”

HOWIE DOIN?:

Howie Kendrick returned from an Injured List stint for a hamstring issue this afternoon, with the Nationals optioning Andrew Stevenson to Double-A Harrisburg to make room on the 25-Man roster.

Kendrick has been out of action since July 31st. Before that the 36-year-old, 14-year veteran had a .316/.367/.526 line, with 16 doubles and 12 home runs, contributing off the bench and filling in at first base with Ryan Zimmerman in and out of the lineup all season.

“It was just kind of precautionary going on the 10-Day [IL] and it always sucks when you’re hurt, so it’s good to be back. I feel like I’m ready to go, and hopefully I’ll be able to help the team out,” Kendrick told reporters in the Nationals’ clubhouse.

Kendrick didn’t have to go on a rehab stint, and he said he felt he was ready to jump right back in.

“I’ve still been able to hit and stuff, so it wasn’t like I was shut down completely, so I was still taking ground balls, I just wasn’t moving around as much, but like I said, I feel like I’m ready and I’m prepared to play and try to help the team win.”

Kendrick doubled (No. 17 of 2019) and scored a run in the Nationals’ 7-6 win over the Reds in his first game back.