Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez is giving Juan Soto a couple of days off, per Jessica Camerato of MLB.com (via Twitter). Soto has been experiencing some elbow soreness. The Nationals’ young superstar underwent and MRI, but the results were good, so Martinez is just giving Soto a couple of days to rest and recover.
Though the Nationals have face-planted in their title defense season, there’s been no such hangover for the 21-year-old Soto. Soto is currently the major-league leader in slugging (.758) and OPS (1.211). He’s slashing .354/.453/.758 with 11 long balls in 117 plate appearances. Soto has more walks (17) than strikeouts (16) while registering in the top 1% for exit velocity (94.2 mph) and top 2 percent for hard hit percentage (55.4%).
Soto rested for both games of yesterday’s doubleheader against the Braves, and he figures to get another day or two to rest his elbow. Especially since the Nats are just one game ahead of the Pirates for the worst record in the National League, they are likely to value Soto’s long-term health over any benefit they’ll get from rushing him into action over the final few weeks of what’s bound to be a lost season. Washington sits 5 games out of a wild card spot, and while that deficit isn’t impossible to overcome, they would need to turn around their play drastically enough to leapfrog five other teams in the NL.
Soto missed the first couple of days of the season after testing positive for COVID-19, though he was asymptomatic.