Nationals’ Juan Soto tests positive for COVID-19, will miss season opener

FILE – In this March 12, 2020, file photo, Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto waits for a pitch from the New York Yankees during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

The Washington Nationals’ young heavy-hitter Juan Soto has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not attend Thursday night’s season opener against the New York Yankees, according to the team.

Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said Soto’s test results came in early Thursday morning and that he is currently asymptomatic.

Rizzo said that because of extensive contact tracing efforts carried out by the team, no other Nats players or staff will need to be quarantined ahead of Thursday’s opener.

Soto will be tested again on the chance that the first result was a “false positive,” though Rizzo said the team will follow all of the CDC and MLB guidelines in the meantime.

This positive result could remove Soto from the Nats’ equations until early to mid-August, but Rizzo said that they will build their plans around not having him for even longer than that.

Rizzo said the Nationals will treat positive COVID-19 result like other injuries.

“Next man up, let’s go. We’ve gotta make our roster moves, we gotta contact everyone we have to contact,” Rizzo said. “Of course, our first priority is to take care of Juan and his family, and then we go in our baseball mode.”

Soto will need two consecutive negative test results with over 24 hours between tests before he is cleared to play in the league again, per MLB’s new health policy.

The Nats will kick off their season opening game against the Yankees at 7:08 p.m.

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