No update on Soto, Martinez cautious with Strasburg recovery

Nationals manager Davey Martinez said there is no update available yet on outfielder Juan Soto and his testing for COVID-19.

"Nothing," Martinez said during his pregame video conference call Sunday. "Like I said, we'll get him as soon as he's able to come back. We'll get him going again. That's all I have."

Soto received a positive test on Thursday morning and has been staying home in D.C. since. He needs two negative test results separated by 24 hours to be eligible to be activated.

The Nats' young slugger was already playing catch-up during summer training, having not been cleared to play until the second week. So, Martinez was desperate to get him as many at-bats as possible, and then he was shut down again.

Soto-Swings-White-Exhibition-Sidebar.jpg"It's definitely concerning," Martinez said. "We try to push him to get as many at-bats as he possibly can when he missed so much time. We got him up to 20-something at-bats and now basically you kind of got to start over with him, which kind of stinks a little bit.

"Hopefully it won't take him as long. He's a big part of our lineup but we got to be very careful. He's one of our young players that plays every day. We want to make sure that we keep him healthy when he comes back."

Martinez said he will speak with Stephen Strasburg today. The right-hander was scratched from his Saturday start due to a nerve impingement in his right wrist.

"I am going to make sure that he is doing well and that his issue has subsided," Martinez said. "We will take it day by day. Yesterday he left and said he felt better. Hopefully today he feels a little bit better then yesterday and we will go from there.

"Right now he's getting better. He said he felt better. So, we are going to see where he is at today. Hopefully tomorrow he might be able to play catch. We will take it day-by-day and by his next start he can make that start. Only time will tell at this point."

Martinez emphasized how important Strasburg is to this team, especially with only 58 games remaining on the regular-season schedule. If the Nationals are going to have a legit shot at repeating this season, Strasburg, the World Series MVP, has to make an impact.

'We got to get him back," Martinez said. "The quicker we get him back, the better we are going to be. What that being said, we got to make sure we take care of him as well. There are other complications if we push him back too early. If he is not feeling right, we don't want this to become something wrong with his forearm or his shoulder because he is trying to compensate. We really want to make sure that he is right when he comes back."

No timeline yet on Wander Suero or Roenis Elías. They continue to be stretched out in Fredericksburg.

Michael A. Taylor makes his second consecutive start today in the series finale against the Yankees. The Yankees are approaching today's contest as a "bullpen game," so expect to see plenty of arms. Right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga starts. The Yankees had to go deep into their bullpen Saturday night, employing five relievers after James Paxton faltered in the second inning.

Taylor crushed a solo homer and made a nice catch on a line drive, diving forward from his left field spot in Saturday's 9-2 win.

"Gold Glove outfielder, love his defense," Martinez said of Taylor. "He's swinging the bat well during spring training. So he's going to get an opportunity to play a little bit now that Soto is not here. He's huge for our team, especially in a 60-game season. He can come off the bench and do many different things for you. He can start like he's doing the last couple of days. Put together some good at-bats yesterday. Going to get a chance to play."

Martinez, on the other hand, did not have to go to his big three in the bullpen last night, thanks to the big lead. Will Harris, Daniel Hudson and Sean Doolittle are all ready to go.

"It's huge. Those guys are fresh," Martinez said. "They haven't pitched in a while, actually. We talked to some of them about maybe having to go four outs. But we will see. Get to that point and we will see where we are at. (Tanner) Rainey is good to go today as well. So, all these guys are pretty much available today. If we have the lead you'll see those three guys pitch in the back end of the bullpen, probably."

And even though Martinez went to his bullpen a lot too yesterday, he says those guys could go today if necessary. But he hopes left-hander Patrick Corbin can give him a solid start so he won't have to.

"Ryne (Harper) is one," he said. "(Kyle) Finnegan is one. Saw him pitch an inning yesterday. He could go today. (James) Bourque is good to go today. So, we are definitely covered. Hopefully, Corbin can go out there and give us five or six strong innings, and then we will go from there."

Third baseman Carter Kieboom is not in the lineup. Martinez said he has been dealing with a sore groin.

"We're going to be very cautious with his injury," Martinez said. "He looked OK yesterday. It doesn't bother him swinging. It doesn't bother him running straight-on. It's the lateral movement that he kind of feels it a little bit. But he said he felt better yesterday. So, we'll take it day-to-day. It was nice to see him out there at least getting some at-bats yesterday."

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