Last-place Nationals place Juan Soto on injured list with shoulder issue

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The early days of the 2021 season have not gone well for the Washington Nationals. The club heads into Tuesday night’s game with the St. Louis Cardinals (GameTracker) with a 5-9 record and the sport’s third worst run differential at minus-22. They lost several players to a COVID-19 outbreak two weeks ago and Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin look greatly diminished.

The Nationals will now be without their franchise player for at least 10 days. On Tuesday, Washington placed outfielder Juan Soto on the 10-day injured list with a left shoulder strain. He missed a little time with a sore left shoulder last September. It’s unclear whether this new injury is related. The left shoulder is Soto’s throwing shoulder.

The Nationals now have six players on the injured list: Soto (shoulder), Strasburg (shoulder) Jon Lester (COVID-19), Luis Avilan (elbow), Will Harris (hand), and Wander Suero (oblique). Washington has already used 35 different players this season, the most in MLB.

Soto, 22, has been excellent in the early going, hitting .300/.410/.460 with two home runs and more walks (10) than strikeouts (seven). After spending the first three years of his career in left field, Soto shifted over to right this year following the free agent departure of Adam Eaton.

Yadiel Hernandez was called up to take Soto’s spot on the roster. Andrew Stevenson figures to see the most action in right field during Soto’s absence.

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