Taylor Teagarden is expected to be sidelined for several weeks after being diagnosed with a slight ligament tear in his lower back.
Manager Buck Showalter indicated that the injury is less severe than it sounds, but also admitted that Teagarden’s status for Opening Day “is in jeopardy.”
Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that Teagarden got an epidural injection and will be shut down completely for at least a week, opening the door for Ronny Paulino to begin the season as Matt Wieters’ backup.
Paulino signed a minor-league deal with the Orioles in January after spending last season backing up Josh Thole for the Mets, who non-tendered him.
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.