Washington Nationals’ shortstop Trea Turner was originally penciled into the lineup for last night’s series finale with the Philadelphia Phillies, but the 27-year-old infielder didn’t play in the 12-3 loss. Turner was scratched just before the scheduled start time so Davey Martinez didn’t offer any explanation for the decision until after the game.
“He just — he’s beat up right now,” Martinez acknowledged. “He’s banged up a little bit. He came in today, and I just figured let’s just give him a day. And hopefully tomorrow he’ll feel a little bit better, but here’s a guy that he plays every day, never complains, and the way he plays, with his speed, playing in the middle of the field, all of the things that he does, I mean, as you all know, he’s not a very big kid, so his body is just really beat up. So I have to try to take care of him as well. He’s out starting shortstop. So I thought, you know what, I’m not going to push him, we’ll just give him the day off and hopefully tomorrow it will help him out a little bit and he’s back in there.”
Turner started each of the club’s first 55 games, putting up a .339/.397/.583 line with 15 doubles, four triples, and 10 home runs in 242 plate appearances, over which he’s been worth a team-leading 2.5 fWAR.
Juan Soto, No. 2 on the team, at 2.1 fWAR in 43 games, has a .352/.486/.703 line, 12 doubles, and 13 home runs in 183 plate appearances.
Soto started his second straight game in right after he played left field all season, and his manager, Davey Martinez, said beforehand that he just wanted to switch things up for the 22-year-old outfielder.
“We wanted to throw him out there. I talked about with him for quite a while,” Martinez said.
“The short stint that he was in the minor leagues coming up that’s where he played, right field, he feels comfortable over there.
“So we thought we’d give it a shot, play over there, he’s going over there again today and see what it looks like.”
Soto played 107 of 118 minor league games before he was called up in 2018 in right field, but he switched to left when he got the majors, and before Tuesday night he’d only been out in left.
“It feels good,” Soto said after his second MLB start in right on Wednesday.
“A long time ago I played right field. It’s been really nice to be out there again and try to feel like my first year, rookie ball. It feels really good right now.”
Martinez talked earlier this week about what Turner and Soto have meant to the 2020 Nats.
“What [Soto] and Trea have done has been unbelievable,” the manager said. “Those two guys have really been the bulk of our offense. They’ve done really well, really, really well.
“I hope they both learned something about what kind of hitters they can be in the future and they can carry this over to a 162-game season, because they’re both future All-Star players, no doubt.”
Turner’s back at short and leading off, and Soto is in right again, batting second tonight in the series opener with the New York Mets.