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What I Learned – Juan Soto tests positive for COVID-19, will miss opening night

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Nationals outfielder Juan Soto will miss the season opener against the Yankees on Thursday after testing positive for COVID-19, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Washington will host the Yankees on Thursday night at Nationals Park.Soto was tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday before a scrimmage against the Orioles, per the Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond. His positive test came back on Thursday morning.Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo addressed Soto’s positive test on Thursday. “I think you have to take a business-as-usual type of approach to it, just like any other injury during the season,” Rizzo said. According to the Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty, Soto took multiple instant-result coronavirus tests on Thursday—both saliva and nasal—and the results were negative. The tests were reportedly conducted by the team, which is permitted by MLB protocol as a point-of-care option when rapid testing is necessary. Soto still needs to receive consecutive negative results through the labs MLB has contracted to process samples 24 hours apart before resuming play.The 21-year-old outfielder finished ninth in the National League MVP voting in 2019. He bashed 34 homers and drove in 110 runs, posting a .949 OPS. Soto shined in the 2019 playoffs, tallying three World Series homers as Washington defeated the Astros in seven games. Thursday marks MLB’s opening day for the 2020 season, nearly four months after the season’s intended start date. MLB suspended all operations on March 12 amid the COVID-19 crisis, and the league has installed a slate of safety protocols as teams returned to the field in recent weeks. Washington enters the 2020 season looking to become the first back-to-back World Series winner in the 21st century. The Yankees have reached the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, though they have not reached the World Series since 2009. First pitch on Thursday is slated for 7:08 p.m. ET. 

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