- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Washington Nationals face another significant injury hurdle. Juan Soto has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left shoulder, the team announced Tuesday afternoon.

Yadiel Hernandez has been recalled from the alternate training site in Fredericksburg, Virginia, to replace Soto.

Soto had originally been in Washington’s lineup for Tuesday night’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals. But about an hour from first pitch, the Nationals announced Soto would face a stint on the injured list, another key piece missing for the team.

Manager Dave Martinez said Soto had been dealing with a tight tricep for a few days. He underwent an MRI on Tuesday morning that showed a “slight strain,” Martinez said.

“It’s early,” Martinez said following Tuesday night’s 3-2 win. “We got some days off. We thought, ‘Hey, we’re not going to take any chances with him.’ We’re just going to try to get him right as quick as possible, and when he’s ready, he comes back.”

Martinez said it was a “no-brainer” to he and general manager Mike Rizzo to put Soto on the injured list.

Soto is one of a couple injuries on the squad currently. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg is also on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation. Reliever Wander Suero is out with a left oblique strain. Lefty reliever Luis Avilan is undergoing elbow reconstruction surgery to repair a torn UCL.

Those injuries leave the pitching staff without several key pieces, and now Soto’s injury is another issue for a team sitting at the bottom of the National League East standings.

Soto had been hitting .300 with a .460 slugging percentage. He has two home runs, two doubles and eight RBI in 14 games this season.

“It’s huge. He’s a huge part of our lineup,” Martinez said. “We put [Andrew Stevenson] in there today. He led off. He did really well. And I just talked to the boys after the game and said, ‘Hey, we’ve gotta keep battling every day.’ It’s going to be a battle every day. That’s why we play 162 games. So, keep fighting, every day. And at the end of this, we’re going to be OK and we’re going to come out on top.”

• Andy Kostka can be reached at akostka@washingtontimes.com.

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