The Washington Nationals star talks about his diagnosis that kept him out of Opening Day.
On MLB Opening Day, baseball fanatics received proof about how hard it will be to effectively run a season during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Just hours before first pitch against the New York Yankees, Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto tested positive for COVID-19. After the diagnosis, Soto has been on the sidelines, before receiving clearance to return by the league on Wednesday.
While speaking with the media on Saturday, Soto expressed his belief that he had “a fake positive” test.
Soto’s on-field return still to be determined
Soto returned to Nationals Park on Saturday to participate in a simulated game, as the team’s weekend series against the Miami Marlins was postponed due a massive COVID-19 hitting the Marlins roster.
For Soto to return to the Nationals, he had to undergo a ten-day quarantine mandated by Washington D.C., to which manager Davey Martinez said he was asymptomatic throughout. That was the second time Soto had to self-isolate, as he came into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus during the league’s intake testing on July 1
Despite returning, Soto said he’s not sure if he’ll be available to play in Tuesday’s game against the New York Mets, per Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic. Due to undergoing his first quarantine, Soto missed the first two weeks of Washington’s summer camp.
The Nationals have certainly missed Soto’s presence since he was sidelined with the positive test. In Washington’s seven-game span, the team outscored the opposition by a slim 24-22 margin.
Last season, Soto slashed .282/.401/.548 while recording 153 hits, 34 home runs and 110 RBI.
Soto is back, but he’ll just have to await official word from Martinez to see when he’ll be able to man center field in 2020.