Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Soto comes up big in return to Nationals' lineup in Dodger Stadium...

Davey Martinez joked often in his first season on the bench in the nation’s capital about how hard it was to convince Juan Soto to take a day off, and apparently convincing the 20-year-old outfielder to go on the Injured List earlier this month wasn’t easy either, but he did go to the IL, reluctantly, on May 4th, with back spasms which had been bothering the outfielder in the days before the decision was made.

“If you know Juan, he did not like the stint on the IL, and he’s itching to come back, so he looks good, [and] getting him in the lineup extends our lineup a little bit and it will be fun to watch him back out there,” Martinez told reporters before Soto returned from a 10-Day IL stint in the third of four with the Los Angeles Dodgers .

Soto had hits in seven of eight games, and he’d reached base in 15-straight before his back acted up, and in spite of the time he missed, he still led the team in RBIs (22) and was tied for the team lead in home runs (with six), and he’d reached base in 23 of 24 games and hit safely in 18 of 24 before the spasms forced him to sit.

The rehab process, which did not include any games in the minors, saw Soto working with trainers until he was ready to start doing his regular pregame workouts in the last few days.

Before he was cleared to return from the IL, he went through a full workout to make sure his back was no longer bothering him.

Soto walked in his first trip to the plate against Dodgers’ right-hander Walker Buehler , but K’d swinging the second time up, and he was 0 for 3 with a K when he stepped in against Dodgers’ lefty Scott Alexander with the bases loaded in the eighth and battled for nine pitches, fouling off six 1-2 pitches before he lined an opposite field single to left field to get the Nationals on the board, down 2-1, before Gerardo Parra followed one out later with a go-ahead grand slam.

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