Nationals left fielder Juan Soto received a positive COVID-19 test result last week prior to Opening Day, becoming one of the most prominent players in baseball sidelined with the virus. It was even more high-profile that the Nats, the defending World Series champs, opened the season in a nationally televised game against the Yankees.
In order for a player to get back on the field after testing positive for the virus, he needs to get have negative results at least 24 hours apart. Soto is halfway there. He has received one negative test, per manager Dave Martinez (via Mark Zuckerman of MASN) and is awaiting a second one. The good news throughout all of this, as it pertains to Soto, is all reports indicated he's felt fine and is symptom-free.
The Nationals have not had any other players test positive for the coronavirus since the season began. However, manager Dave Martinez said his concern level went from an "eight to a 12" after learning about a COVID-19 outbreak among the Miami Marlins this weekend.
Relating to on-field performance, Soto is incredibly important to the Nationals and their chances of making it back to the postseason, let alone thinking about repeating as champs. He was integral last season, but with the departure of Anthony Rendon via free agency, he's even more important, sitting in the middle of that lineup.
Soto, 21, hit .282/.401/.548 (138 OPS+) with 32 doubles, five triples, 34 homers, 110 RBI, 110 runs, 12 steals and 7.4 WAR last season. In the playoffs, he came through with several high-profile clutch hits and overall slashed .277/.373/.554. In just the World Series, he hit .333/.438/.741 with three homers and seven RBI.
Without Soto in left, the Nationals have Michael Taylor and Andrew Stevenson, who are, needless to say, quite a step down from one of the best players in baseball.
The Nationals went 1-2 against the Yankees at home to start the season. They now play host to the Blue Jays to start the new week.