Nationals slugger Juan Soto sits after fouling ball off foot

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Washington Nationals slugger Juan Soto sat out the team’s exhibition home opener on Monday because he fouled a ball off his right foot a day earlier.

Manager Dave Martinez said the 2020 NL batting champion originally was scheduled to play Monday against the Houston Astros, before the mishap in batting practice Sunday.

“Just being cautious,” Martinez said. “Said he feels OK, but we’re just going to give him a day or two. See how he feels tomorrow.”

Martinez said the ball went underneath the shin guard the left-handed-hitting Soto wears on his front foot while batting.

“It got him pretty good,” Martinez said.

The 22-year-old Soto hit .351 last season, with a 1.185 OPS that also led the NL. He is shifting from left field to right field in 2021.

Washington’s starting lineup for its second exhibition game of spring training included Ryan Zimmerman at first base.

Zimmerman sat out all of the 2020 season because of concerns about COVID-19.

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