5:15pm: Nats manager Dave Martinez tells reporters that Soto has now received the required back-to-back negative test results from Major League Baseball’s approved labs (Twitter link via Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post). The team is simply awaiting league/city clearance for Soto’s return at this point.
11:15am: Nationals star Juan Soto is currently out due to a positive COVID-19 test, meaning he needs consecutive negatives before he’ll be allowed to return to action. It seems he’s currently registering mixed results in testing, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on Twitter.
Per the report, Soto has registered six negative tests — three from official league tests and three from team-administered tests. He has yet to string together two negatives that qualify to clear him for activation. Putting aside the phenom’s own situation, it’s yet another reminder that testing for the virus is anything but a foolproof means of ascertaining an infection.
For the Nationals, the first concern is obviously with Soto’s own well-being. From a pure competitive perspective, he’s obviously also of critical importance to the team’s hopes of pulling off a repeat title run. The charismatic 21-year-old carries a .287/.403/.535 batting line through his first 266 MLB games and was every bit as good during the team’s 2019 postseason run.