Juan Soto was initially penciled in as the Washington Nationals’ left fielder and No. 2 hitter for the series opener with the Atlanta Braves this afternoon, but shortly before the start of Game 1 of today’s doubleheader, the 21-year-old outfielder was scratched with a sore left elbow.
Manager Davey Martinez didn’t mention any concerns about Soto in his pregame presser, so there was no information on how big an issue it was, but any injury concerns with their hard-hitting outfielder are worrisome.
Josh Harrison moved from third base to left field with Soto out and Wilmer Difo, who’d started just once in the club’s first 35 game this season, slotted in at third base.
Michael A. Taylor started in right with Adam Eaton banged up as well, with Martinez telling reporters before the game that he was still waiting to see how the veteran’s knee reacted a day after Eaton jammed his knee at first base while running out a bunt in Philadelphia.
“Waiting for him to get here so [trainer] Paul [Lessard] can see him, and then we’ll go from there,” Martinez explained.
“With two games, I was going to give him the first game off, so we’re hoping he can play the second game.”
If they had to go with Taylor in one of the corners again in the nightcap, that wouldn’t be a bad thing, as Martinez said on Thursday he’s liked what he’s seen from the 29-year-old this season.
“He’s being patient,” Martinez said. “He’s not just going up there. He’s seeing pitches, and he’s making good contact.
“I talked about him earlier. The times he’s played he’s hit the ball pretty good.
“I know he’s only hitting .200, but it doesn’t show that he’s working at bats, he’s trying to use the whole field, so kudos to him, it’s a tough spot for him to come off the bench like that, and do what he did, and he put us ahead there. He’s going well.”
How did Martinez lineup them up for the nightcap?