Davey Martinez told reporters before last night’s game Juan Soto’s knee was still sore, but the 22-year-old slugger was testing it, to see how it responded to his usual pregame prep, before a decision was made on whether or not he’d be in the lineup for the series finale with Atlanta in Nationals Park.
Soto banged the knee on the bench in the dugout late in the opener on Monday night, then sat for the first time this season in the second of three with the Braves in D.C., with Martinez saying they would see how he felt when he showed up for the third matchup with the Nats’ NL East rivals.
“He tried to get loose today,” Martinez explained after the second straight loss to Atlanta.
“He was still a little tight. He said he feels a lot better. In the middle of the game he said he felt a lot better, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow when he wakes up.”
Before the lineup was released last night (sans Soto), Martinez said the issue was really a matter of where he banged his knee on the bench.
“It’s honestly, right now it’s where he got hit. He got hit right on the patella tendon,” he told reporters. “Which was sore. Yesterday he said he felt better, but it was still sore, so we’ll see how he feels today. He said he feels better, so he’s going to go through all his routine and see where he comes out. For me, if it’s still bothering him, I would rather not start him, and have him be able to come off the bench if we need him as opposed to him going out there and he gets really sore and then we have to take him out.
“So that’s kind of where we’re at right now, and what we’re contemplating, so but I’m going to have a good conversation with him right after [this].”
The concern, he said, is Soto will play a bit banged up and potentially make it worse or have another issue come up if he’s compensating.
“I think because the way he hurt himself was banging it, sliding and all that stuff might affect him a little bit,” Martinez said.
After last night’s game/loss, he said Soto will likely be back in there tonight. Why didn’t he play in the finale with the Braves?
“He just didn’t — he said stopping and going bothered him some, so at this point I’m just going to be smart,” Martinez explained. “He said he really feels like one more day could really help him. So, he was available to pinch hit today if we needed him, but tomorrow, hopefully he comes in, he feels a lot better and he’ll be in the lineup.”
Is he? Let’s look... HE IS!!
HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR THE SERIES OPENER WITH THE PHILLIES: