Juan Soto had a stop and start reaction when Josh Bell hit a liner that bounced off of the second base bag in the series finale with Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, and he came around to score on a throwing error on the play, but limped slowly across the plate after tweaking something on the way home.
“It was a weird play,” manager Davey Martinez said after the game.
“He said he felt something in his knee. He’s getting checked out as we speak, I’ll know more tomorrow.”
When Martinez spoke before last night’s series opener with the Atlanta Braves in Truist Park, he was waiting to see how Soto felt after he got some pregame work in.
“He’s out there right now,” Martinez said a few hours before the first pitch.
“I don’t have a lineup yet, we’re trying to see how he feels. He’s going to do some activation stuff and hit and then we’ll see what happens here in a little bit.”
“He took a secondary lead yesterday,” the manager explained, “... and kind of tweaked his right knee, so I don’t think there’s like a major concern, but we want to make sure that he’s okay.”
At that point, he said, he wasn’t sure which way he would lean as far as penciling Soto into the lineup for the series opener with the Atlanta Braves in Truist Park.
“I’m 50/50 right now, I really am. I mean, unless he comes in and say he feels great we might do something else.”
They did something else in the end.
Martinez told Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty after the decision to sit Soto was made that the 22-year-old was still feeling it in his knee:
Caught Dave Martinez pregame on the decision to not play Juan Soto tonight: He's still "feeling it" a bit in his right knee, so they want to be cautious. Could pinch-hit tonight if needed. Considered day-to-day, as of now.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) August 6, 2021
After the game, Martinez said he was hoping Soto would be good to go in the second of three with the Braves.
“I’m hoping that he can play tomorrow, he actually got up and took some swings and was available to pinch hit in the ninth inning there, so that’s a good sign,” the manager said.
“We’ll see how he feels tomorrow, he’ll go through the gamut again tomorrow, run a little bit and get some treatment and we’ll see, hopefully he’s good to go.”
Where’s the balance now, with where the team is right now, between wanting to get Soto in there, and making sure he’s healthy?
“I definitely want to make sure that he’s 100%,” Martinez told reporters.
“So like I said, we’ll see how he feels tomorrow, he said he felt better after treatment today during the game, and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”