NEW YORK — With a pandemic shaping our livelihood, we have lived in a world filled with utter uncertainty. Baseball is just hours away from seeing the first pitch be thrown on Opening Day, but with five hours until the scheduled first pitch the baseball world’s enthusiasm turned bleak when one of baseball’s young firecrackers in the batter’s box and in the outfield tested positive for COVID-19.
According to ESPN MLB Insider Jeff Passan, Washington Nationals phenom Juan Soto, has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be joining his teammates at Nationals Park on Opening Day. Soto was not on the active 30-man roster that was released hours before the scheduled first pitch. Soto will be asked to quarantine and await two negative COVID-19 tests — each test taken 24-hours aparts — until he can join his teammates on their quest for a repeat.
Confirming @JeffPassan's report that Juan Soto has tested positive for COVID-19. Told by a source that Soto "is OK." He already spent the first 2 weeks of camp in mandatory quarantine after coming into contact with someone who tested positive.
— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) July 23, 2020
According to Mark Zuckerman, 26-year-old left-handed hitter Andrew Stevenson will replace Soto in left field.
Soto has become the face of a franchise that is rooted with veteran and young talent. The 21-year-old hit 39 homers and 110 RBIs and accumulated a .282 average and .949 OPS in his sophomore season in Washington.
The Nationals are still scheduled to face the New York Yankees on July 23rd at 7:08 EST in Washington, D.C. after all players — with the sole exception of Soto — have tested negative for COVID-19 (Note: The tests results that are being reported are from COVID-19 tests that were taken on Tuesday, July 21).
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