The Dominican outfielder and the Padres face the Nationals for the first time since the trade that took him away from the city of Washington but not from his fans
It hasn’t been long. I’m sure there are Nationals fans who still don’t believe it happened and others who still can’t get used to seeing him in a different uniform.
It’s only been 10 days since John Soto was traded to the Padres from the Washington DC team, and this weekend the Dominican returns to what was his home for five seasons in the Major Leagues and for the longest time since he was signed as a teenager.
For the San Diego team, the start has not been as expected with five consecutive losses in a stretch of eight games, but in the last two the offense begins to pick up.
But Soto has given just one more glimpse of what he’s capable of with a .357/.471/.607 offensive line with one home run, one triple, one double, six walks and seven runs scored in 35 plate appearances.
“It will be extremely emotional,” Soto responded when asked about his return to Washington. “I’m excited to go back and see all the guys again… I have done everything for this team. Whatever he has done, he has done with the team and the fans in mind. If you appreciate it, I will always be delighted. If not, there is nothing I can do about it.”
Perhaps those words express his doubts about how he will be received in what was his home. Not recently there was a kind of “cold War” in the media about offers, contract extension rejections and trade rumors (not so rumors).
More than 30 journalists waited for Soto’s return on Friday afternoon before the first game of the series that runs through the weekend. Soto did not disappoint.
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“I cried all morning that day (when it was changed), it was difficult but at the end of the day I understand that it is a business”, Soto told the press. “They (Nationals management) did what was best for them and I’m happy, no hard feelings.”
And precisely for this reason, fans should welcome Soto as he deserves, without hard feelings. He was an important part of the recent history of the organization and wearing that uniform he stood out as one of the best players of these times.
Soto will be second in the batting order and will defend right field at the start of the Padres-Nationals series.