Adrian Beltre still hasn’t been cleared to run at full speed following his setback from a hamstring injury last month and T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that “it’s almost a certainty that Beltre won’t be ready until after the rosters expand in September.”
Beltre was on the verge of returning from the disabled list on August 6, but aggravated the injury running the bases and had to “start over again.”
Three weeks later his progress has been minimal, with manager Ron Washington explaining that Beltre is still trying to “build up stamina” and “leg strength.” In other words, even September 1 might be optimistic at this point.
Michael Young has become the Rangers’ everyday third baseman in Beltre’s absence, with an assortment of players shuffling through his old designated hitter spot.
The Nationals recalled 19-year-old outfield prospect Juan Soto from Double-A Harrisburg on Sunday, per a team announcement. Soto is poised to become the youngest player in the league once he makes his official debut with the club, and the Nationals’ first teenager to enter the majors since Bryce Harper made his first appearance back in 2012.
Entering the 2018 season, Soto was ranked no. 2 in the Nationals’ system and 15th overall. He’s certainly lived up to the hype during his first two years of pro ball, blazing through Single-A, High-A and Double-A levels in 2018 alone. While he logged just eight games at the Double-A level prior to his promotion to the majors, he proved consistent across all three levels this spring and slashed a cumulative .362/.462/.757 with 14 home runs and a 1.218 OPS in 182 plate appearances.
It’s not entirely clear how soon or in what capacity the Nationals will utilize their youngest player, but Soto’s tear through the minors is sure to pave the road for a few opportunities on the big-league level. He’ll be available off the bench for Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers.