Nationals left fielder Juan Soto will make his season debut and bat fourth against the New York Mets on Wednesday night, manager Dave Martinez said.
Soto has yet to play this season. He tested positive for COVID-19 on July 23, just hours before the Nationals' scheduled Opening Day game against the Yankees. Soto was cleared to play by Major League Baseball on July 29 after testing negative in five coronavirus tests and later received clearance from the D.C. Health Department to return.
“He said he’s ready,” Martinez said.
The Nationals had their weekend series postponed against the Marlins after MLB suspended Miami's schedule through Aug. 1. Eighteen Marlins players have tested positive for COVID-19 on Miami's active roster since the start of the season, along with three staffers. The Marlins, sporting a 48-man roster as other players quarantine, resumed their season on Tuesday in a win over the Baltimore Orioles.
The Phillies' schedule was halted through Aug. 2 out of precaution after playing the Marlins, but coronavirus tests among the team reportedly returned zero positive tests outside one staffer. In addition, the St. Louis Cardinals' schedule is suspended through Aug. 6 after seven players and six staff members tested positive for COVID-19.
In response to the recent positive tests, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said, "...I am not a quitter in general and there is no reason to quit now. We have had to be fluid, but it is manageable."
Soto is coming off a World Series-winning season during which he recorded 34 home runs and 110 RBIs on a .282 batting average. The 21-year-old is entering his third season in the league.