MLB

Nationals active Juan Soto from IL after star outfielder misses 10 games with shoulder issue

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The Washington Nationals activated star outfielder Juan Soto on Tuesday ahead of a three-game set against the Atlanta Braves. Soto, who has not played since April 19 because of a strained left shoulder, is not in the Washington lineup for the series opener, though.

The Nationals made a series of roster moves that also saw them activate reliever Will Harris, option reliever Kyle McGowin, and designate utility player Hernán Pérez for assignment.

Soto had gotten off to a tremendous start prior to being placed on the injured list, hitting .300/.410/.460 with two home runs and three more walks than strikeouts in his first 61 plate appearances during the 2021 season.

The Nationals, now 12-12, were 5-9 when Soto was placed on the shelf. Washington went 7-3 during their franchise player’s absence while leaning heavily on Yadiel Hernández, a 33-year-old rookie, to replace Soto in the lineup and in right field. Hernández, to his credit, batted a Soto-esque .367/.444/.500 in 36 plate appearances.

While Soto’s activation is the most notable move the Nationals made, Harris’ shouldn’t be overlooked, either. He’s yet to pitch this season after being sidelined during spring training with a suspected blood clot. A venogram conducted in late March revealed that Harris did not have a blood clot, nor was he dealing with thoracic outlet syndrome, a potentially devastating diagnosis for pitchers.

The Nationals will enter play on Tuesday with a half-game lead over both the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets. The Nationals also have a two-game lead over the Braves, and a 2 1/2-game lead over the last-place Miami Marlins. Oddly enough, the Marlins are the only team in the division with a positive run differential, a measure that tends to hold more predictive value in small samples than a team’s won-lost record.



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