The Nationals have placed outfielder Juan Soto on the injured list with back spasms, as the team told reporters Saturday afternoon. The injury isn’t expected to sideline him for a significant period of time, according to a report from The Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty:
Nats place Juan Soto on the 10-Day Injured List (retroactive to 5/1) with back spasms.— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) May 4, 2019
Update from Juan Soto on his back: He expects to rest and receive treatment for four to five days and then try swinging and doing baseball activities. He said he has continued to feel better since first feeling the pain this past Wednesday.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) May 4, 2019
Soto, the 20-year-old phenom, has endured a bit of a sophomore slump by his standards, posting a .248/.368/.467 slash line with six homers over 125 plate appearances with -5 defensive runs saved — the same amount he had for the entirety of last season — over his first 28 games. Those are certainly still respectable offensive numbers, but they don’t approach his production from last season — a .292/.406/.517 slash line with 22 homers in 494 PAs.
Soto’s addition to the injured list should open up playing time for Michael A. Taylor, who has struggled to get on the field over the first month of the season and has posted a disastrous .387 OPS over sparse action (six starts and 31 plate appearances). Matt Adams and Howie Kendrick have been restricted to the infield so far this season but both have experience in left and could be stationed there if necessary, and the club also recalled Andrew Stevenson to add additional outfield depth on Saturday.