San Diego Padres Juan Soto, who missed the last minute of the exhibition game due to an oblique muscle injury, is expected to be able to play in the opening game.
San Diego manager Phil Nevin said on the 30th (Korean time), “Soto will start as the left fielder in the opening game. He played the practice game and live betting without any problems.”
Soto took a break from the last exhibition game against the Milwaukee Brewers on the 19th due to left oblique muscle pain. Ten days after that, on the 29th, he participated in the ‘B’ game at the Peoria camp, recorded doubles and 3 walks in 4 at-bats, and digested live betting at Petco Park that day.
“I think I’m perfectly prepared,” Soto told MLB.com. The injury was very minor. 안전놀이터
Soto, who changed to a San Diego uniform through a trade in August of last year, will have his first full-time season after transferring this year. He foreshadowed his great success by showing off his climax of hitting in exhibition games and the World Baseball Classic (WBC).
In the exhibition game, he participated in 5 games and posted a batting average of 0.571 (8 hits in 14 bats), 1 walk, 7 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.600. Soto is in the best batting condition for his batting average and OPS since making his major league debut in 2018.
Soto was selected as the National League MVP in a recent MLB.com survey of 87 reporters, editors, and commentators, “Winners in each category of individual titles this season.”
MLB.com said, ‘Soto, who is playing the 24-year-old season this year, ranked 5th and 2nd respectively in the 2020 and 2021 MVP voting. Our voters predicted Soto would win MVP in his first season in San Diego. Last year was a season on the decline, but he still had 27 home runs, 135 walks and an OPS+149,’ he explained.
Soto has never won a major title since his major league debut. In 2018, he batted 0.292 and hit 22 home runs, but finished second in the Rookie of the Year vote.
Although he was evaluated as the Ted Williams of the 21st century, he was not the best. Last year, after being offered a 15-year, $440 million long-term contract by the Washington Nationals in July, he moved to San Diego, and due to various circumstances and rumors about his future, his batting average was 0.242, the lowest since his debut.
Soto said in an interview with CBS Sports on the day he returned to team camp after finishing WBC, “Baseball was physically off last year. I couldn’t find my form throughout the season.”
But this year, more than ever before, the season is neatly completed both physically and mentally. Before the start of the season, Soto said of his condition, “I am very good right now. I have found the timing correctly. I just have to harvest. It feels like 2020 and 2021. I can see the ball. I can hit it in all directions.”
Soto will play left field this year. As Fernando Tatis Jr. moved to the outfield, he moved from his main position in right field. However, he said, “It doesn’t matter as long as you don’t change it again.” This year, he gets a salary of $23 million. After the season ends next year, there is a high chance that he will become a free agent and receive a total of more than 500 million dollars.