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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ roster when Juan Soto returns; Josh Bell’s swing; Sam Clay story + more...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you wait for the start of tonight’s matchup with the Blue Jays...

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

Josh Bell had hits in three straight games against the St. Louis Cardinals last week, but the Washington Nationals’ first baseman was hitless over the weekend in Citi Field, going 0 for 11 with five strikeouts.

His manager, Davey Martinez, told reporters, after the series finale with the New York Mets that the slugger had changed things up with his swing mechanics as he and the Nationals’ coaches try to find a fix.

“We’re trying to get him a little bit quieter. Stay back a little bit better. Today, he hit a couple of line drives. One to left field which was nice,” Martinez said.

“Hopefully that will get him going. But the at bats are coming, they’re getting better, so hopefully Tuesday some of these line drives we hit today will fall in.”

Bell is just 5 for 42 (.119/.208/.238) with two doubles and one home run since his season got started, following a stint in quarantine as part of the club’s COVID crisis.

Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

After Juan Soto returns, can the Nationals keep Yadiel Hernandez? It’s complicated. - The Washington Post
Yadiel Hernandez, 33, was recalled from the alternate site once Juan Soto went to the injured list. Now Soto can return at the end of this week.

Trea Turner injured with forearm contusion after being hit by pitch in Nats loss - The Washington Post
Turner left Sunday's loss to the Mets with a forearm contusion after he was hit by a splitter in the sixth inning.

It’s too early to talk about the Nationals trading Max Scherzer - (NBC Sports Washington)
"If Washington were to fall out of contention before the July 30 trade deadline, Scherzer would be one of its most enticing trade pieces even as a rental."

How do Nats find ways to score runs while Soto's out? - (MASN)
"Though they knew all along their chances for success hinged primarily on the ability of their star-studded rotation to stay healthy and dominate, the Nats believed from the beginning their lineup was improved from a year ago."

Sam Clay dedicates success to late mother - (MLB.com)
"'My mom wanted me to pitch in this thing and play in this little showcase to really show myself how good I can be. I didn’t really expect much out of it,' Clay recalled in a recent telephone interview with MLB.com."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Israel Pineda Shows Marked Improvement This Spring - (Baseball America)
"At minor league camp in West Palm Beach, Fla., catcher Israel Pineda showed just how far he's come since 2019—even without a 2020 minor league season."

Mock MLB Draft 2021 - (MLB.com)
"11) Nationals: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall HS (Okla.) - A lot of people think Jobe goes in the top 10, as he’s separated himself as clearly the best prep arm in this class."

MLB: Madison Bumgarner makes non-no-hitter history - (Yahoo!Sports)
"By the time I raced to visit a lonely and bored beer guy after the sixth, deGrom had retired 10 Nationals in a row and run his strikeout tally to 12 with no sign of slowing down."

Fun facts for every Low-A East team - (MLB.com)
"The Fredericksburg Nationals, formerly the Potomac Nationals, open their home season on May 11 in a brand-new, yet-to-be-named ballpark."

MLB slow starts: Could Yankees, Braves miss playoffs? - (Sports Illustrated)
"Reclamation projects Josh Bell (.119 batting average) and Kyle Schwarber (.192) are no better. Stephen Strasburg and Juan Soto are hurt."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Phillies defense: Didi Gregorius, Andrew McCutchen scuffling - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"Defense was not the reason the Phillies lost Sunday’s game to the Rockies by 10 runs, but it certainly hasn’t helped them in April."

One surprising reason for Mets hope has nothing to do with them - (NY Post)
"If you like where the Mets are after a month it is because they have the best rotation in the division, and not only due to possessing the ace of the sport in Jacob deGrom."

2021 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Jesus Aguilar is done with arugula - (Fake Teams)
"Aguilar is batting .284 with 17 RBI already. That RBI count is tied for fifth-most among corner infielders, trailing only Kyle Seager, Justin Turner, Nate Lowe, and Rafael Devers."

Braves Minor League Spring Training report - (MLB.com)
"Atlanta's youth movement in the outfield has been well-documented."