Juan Soto missed the Nationals first seven games after testing positive for COVID-19. He has been cleared to return to the team but will not be in the starting lineup on Tuesday. Alex Brandon/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Left fielder Juan Soto was reinstated by the Washington Nationals from the COVID-19 injured list Tuesday after missing the team’s first seven games of the season.

Manager Dave Martinez did not put the slugger in Washington’s starting lineup against the New York Mets for the opener of a two-game series Tuesday night. Martinez did say Soto was available to pinch hit.

“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 said. “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. We just got him back. He missed a lot of time.”

Soto was sidelined on opening day, July 23, after testing positive for the coronavirus.

He only was allowed to return to workouts on Saturday, part of an unusual four-day break for the Nationals caused by the suspension of the Miami Marlins’ season after a team outbreak of COVID-19.

The Nationals also reinstated right-handed reliever Wander Suero from the IL before Tuesday’s game and optioned outfielder Andrew Stevenson to the club’s alternate training site. Only one corresponding move was necessary because the Nationals already had placed reliever Will Harris on the IL last week.

The 21-year-old Soto is a big part of Washington’s offense. He had 34 homers and 110 RBIs during the 2019 regular season before becoming a postseason star while helping the franchise win its first World Series championship.

During a 3-4 start to the truncated season, the Nationals are averaging 3.4 runs per game and their team OPS is just .704.

Clearly, Martinez wants Soto in the middle of the order. But he also wants to be cautious.

“I told him: ‘You’ve got to understand, too, we do have a DH now. So these days where you need a day off, we can plop you at DH.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I forgot about that,’” Martinez said.

BRAVES: Atlanta placed right-hander Mike Soroka on the 45-day injured list following his season-ending torn right Achilles tendon and have designated right-hander Chris Rusin for assignment.

Soroka, the team’s Opening Day starter, had to be helped off the field after suffering his injury in Monday night’s loss to the New York Mets.

General Manager Alex Anthopoulos said Soroka, who turned 23 on Tuesday, is expected to have surgery within a week.

“He will recover and we expect him to be the same guy he was,” Anthopoulos said.

Anthopoulos wouldn’t place a timetable on Soroka’s recovery period.

INDIANS: Manager Terry Francona continues to undergo medical tests for a gastrointestinal issue, and there remains no clear timetable for when he’ll return to the team.

Francona has scheduled appointments with “a series of doctors” at the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday and Wednesday, said team President Chris Antonetti, who is with the team in Cincinnati. Antonetti doesn’t know when Francona will be back and doesn’t believe he will be sidelined for a significant period.

The Indians have lost four straight games, three without Francona, going into Tuesday night’s matchup in Cincinnati.

First-base coach Sandy Alomar is filling in for Francona while he’s away.

ANGELS: Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again this season for the Los Angeles Angels after straining his right forearm in his second start, Manager Joe Maddon said.

Ohtani likely will return to the Angels’ lineup as their designated hitter this week, Maddon said Tuesday night before the club opened a road series against the Seattle Mariners.

The Angels’ stance on Ohtani is unsurprising after the club announced he had strained the flexor pronator mass near the elbow of his pitching arm. The two-way star’s recovery from the strain requires him to abstain from throwing for four to six weeks, which covers most of the shortened 2020 season.

“I’m not anticipating him pitching at all this year,” Maddon said. “Any kind of throwing program is going to be very conservative.”

Ohtani was injured Sunday in the second inning of his second start since returning to the mound following Tommy John surgery in late 2018. Ohtani issued five walks during the 42-pitch inning against the Houston Astros, with his velocity dropping later in the frame.

ROSTERS: Major League Baseball and the players’ union plan to maintain 28-man rosters through the end of the postseason amid continued challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, two people familiar with the matter said.

The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday night because the agreement had not been announced. The move is pending the approval of team owners in an upcoming vote.

Rosters are set to shrink from 30 to 28 on Thursday, and the union has told players to expect them to remain that size through the completion of the World Series. The sides had originally agreed to cut rosters to 26 players on Aug. 20.

Taxi squads will be expanded from three to five players, the people said.

Before the pandemic shut down spring training and prompted MLB to set a shortened 60-game schedule, the league and union had agreed to expand active rosters from 25 to 26 this season.

Tuesday’s agreement was first reported by The Athletic.

ANGELS: Mike Trout remains skeptical about the wisdom of completing the full baseball season amid the coronavirus outbreak, and the Los Angeles Angels’ three-time AL MVP would like to see the addition of daily testing to the sport’s safety measures.

Trout spoke Tuesday after rejoining the Angels in Seattle following the birth of his first child. He missed four games after his wife, Jessica, gave birth to son Beckham Aaron Trout last Thursday.

The sleep-deprived superstar got on the Angels’ team plane Monday night with excitement and wariness. Trout was already concerned about the chances of playing safely through the pandemic before the shortened season began, and his growing family has only heightened those concerns.

“I think the protocols are good, but it’s just the testing,” Trout said. “I’ve said this since Day One, I think if you don’t have testing every day, it’s going to be tough. You’re always trying to catch up and trying to catch it. You know, if we get tested Friday and we have to wait two days to get the results back, you don’t know what’s going to happen in between. You’ve seen it with the Marlins. You’ve seen it with the Cardinals. It spreads fast.”

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