Nationals expect Juan Soto back by Saturday

Todd Dybas

Want yet another Juan Soto update? Of course you do.

Soto has been cleared by Major League Baseball to return to the field because he twice tested negative for coronavirus in tests administered more than 24 hours apart.

But, he cannot play until the Washington Health Department clears him to return to work. The Nationals believe that will be Aug. 1, according to Davey Martinez.

"That's all I got," Martinez said.

If Soto rejoins the team to workout Saturday, he will have three days to prepare for his first regular-season game of 2020. That would be Aug. 4 against the New York Mets.

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Soto tested positive for coronavirus July 21. His result was known July 23, the same day the MLB season began in Nationals Park with a game between the Nationals and New York Yankees. He has been in quarantine since.

According to Martinez, Soto has been asymptomatic throughout his week away from the team. He has also been in his apartment "taking pitches" while standing in front of the television.

"He's hurting right now," Martinez said. "He wants to be with the guys. He's just waiting. Trying to get back as soon as possible. I talked to him [Wednesday] morning. He's a little down. I told him all he can do is hang in there and we're doing the best we can to get him back as [quickly] as possible. A tough situation. We definitely miss him. Can't wait to get him back."

The Nationals are 1-4 without Soto -- their best hitter. Three times they have scored just a run. In another game, they scored two runs. All were losses.

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Nationals expect Juan Soto back by Saturday originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington