The return of Juan Soto — or rather the season debut — is upon us.
Soto, the young Washington Nationals star, is set to make his 2020 debut Wednesday after missing the first week and a half of the season with a positive coronavirus test that came the morning of the Nats’ opening night game against the Yankees. Nats manager Dave Martinez announced that Soto is hitting cleanup Wednesday and playing left field in his return to the lineup.
Soto wasn’t in the lineup Tuesday night, when the Nats beat the Mets 5-3 in D.C., but his enthusiasm certainly was on display.
Juan Soto dancing on the dugout might be one of the few good things about playing socially distanced baseball with no fans in the stadium.
Soto is back and his positive test is behind him, but he still believes that it was a false-positive and wants fans to know he wasn’t being reckless. According to the Washington Post, Soto tested positive and then test negative numerous times afterward.
Soto said he believes he didn’t have the coronavirus, despite learning of his positive result Opening Day. He never showed symptoms. He did three rapid-result antigen tests July 23, and each came back negative. None of his teammates tested positive in the following days. He then received back-to-back lab-confirmed negatives through MLB, which cleared him to play under its protocols.
Those are a few reasons Soto is sure this all started with a false positive. The other is that he has been cautious and smart away from the park, according to Soto and teammates. Those close to Soto say he was frustrated by how the public could perceive his positive test result. He didn’t want to be seen as reckless or immature, contracting the virus at a bar or restaurant in the hours between games. He was hellbent on clearing his name, regardless of whether anyone was judging him.
Knowing Juan Soto, he’s probably hellbent on making an impact on the field for the defending World Series champs.
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