Welcome Back ... To the Bench?:
Yes, Juan Soto came off the IL last night, after two weeks dealing with a left shoulder strain, but no, Soto was not penciled into the lineup for the first of three with the Braves. Soto and veteran reliever Will Harris returned before the game.
What were the final hurdles each had to clear before they were reinstated?
“For Soto it was — he’s been hitting, he’s been hitting the ball well. The throwing is still a little bit of concern, so for today, we’re going to use him as a pinch hitter, and then we’ll keep building him up,” manager Davey Martinez explained.
“He’s still doing his throwing program, and we’ll see how he feels over the next couple of days.”
“With Will, he’s done a lot, and he’s rehabbed a lot, and he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s been throwing the ball, he’s throwing the ball well, he’s pitched multiple innings.
“So after talking to him a few days ago he came into my office and said he’s ready to go.
“And he feels ready. So we thought today would be the perfect opportunity to bring him back.
“He’s excited about being back. He’s put the work in. He went through an ordeal trying to get ready and trying to get right, and he says he feels good, so I’m excited that he’s back and I’m excited to get him out there.”
With Soto’s bat and Harris’s arm, the Nationals are getting closer and closer to fielding the roster they expected to before things went all pear-shaped before Opening Day. Both got into the game last night, Soto striking out in a pinch hit appearance, and Harris throwing a scoreless inning in relief.
Yadi Da Di Who Likes To Party?:
Called back up in the aftermath of Juan Soto’s trip to the IL, Yadiel Hernández proceeded to put up a .435/.500/.565 line with a home run, four walks, and six Ks in nine games (6 GS), and 28 plate appearances, so yeah, he wasn’t going anywhere even when Soto returned to the active roster on Tuesday afternoon.
“He’s played really well,” Davey Martinez said of Hernández’s recent production.
“He’s getting on base, he’s taking his walks, he’s doing all the little things.
“He played his way to continue to be here and continue to play. And he’s been a huge addition for us this year and filled a really big role in our lineup. So good for him.
“Like I said, he’s been through a lot to get to the big leagues, and he’s taken full advantage of it.”
Hernández, of course, played for years in Cuba, defected to the U.S., signed with the Nationals, and worked his way up to debut in the majors as a 32-year-old last season.
He’s making the most of the opportunities he’s earned, and the Nationals are rewarding his hard work.
Hernán Pérez DFA’d; Tough Game:
In order to bring Soto and Harris back, the Nationals had to make some roster moves, and they decided to send Kyle McGowin out to Triple-A Rochester and designate veteran utility man Hernán Pérez for assignment. What made them comfortable with potentially losing a player like Pérez?
“First and foremost, it’s never comfortable having to DFA somebody,” Martinez said, “it’s one of the toughest things in my job. But the fact that we have [Jordy] Mercer, and the fact that we have Josh Harrison that can do a lot of different things helps.
“Now we can actually use [Andrew Stevenson] in another way as far as pinch running maybe, use him early in the game if we need to, to pinch hit, knowing that right now we have Soto and maybe in the future we have Yadi, who can pinch hit as well. So we feel good about — our bench right now is really good. You add Soto on that bench right now, and our bench is with him, [Ryan Zimmerman], Mercer, who can play anywhere, and Stevie, I think we’re in a good spot.”