Soto missed the Nationals' first seven games of the season after testing positive for the coronavirus. He was moved to the IL on July 23, only hours before the club's opener against the New York Yankees.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez didn't put Soto in the team's starting lineup against the New York Mets for the opener of a two-game series Tuesday night. Martinez did say Soto was available off the bench.
Soto was cleared to rejoin the team Saturday, and he took part in workouts and intrasquad scrimmages during the Nationals' four-day break. During that time, Martinez estimated that Soto had about 20 at-bats. By Monday night, Soto wasn't feeling ready to return yet.
"I talked to him last night and he really felt like he probably could use another day or two. He said his legs felt a little heavy. His arm was a little sore," Martinez told reporters before the game. "He tried to ramp it up. ... The last four days, he probably got about 20 at-bats. In that respect, he doesn't feel that bad, but I want to make sure we keep him healthy."
Soto, 21, is a major part of the Nationals' offense. He recorded 34 home runs and 110 RBIs last season and helped the franchise win its first World Series title.
The Nationals also reinstated reliever Wander Suero from the injured list before Tuesday's game against the Mets and optioned outfielder Andrew Stevenson to the team's alternate training site.