San Diego Padres outfielder Juan Soto, who had been dealing with a calf injury, joined the Dominican Republic's World Baseball Classic team on Thursday night, according to Jack Magruder of MLB.com. Soto had partaken in a "B" game on Thursday that proved he was up for the task of playing in the WBC.
"It went as we thought," Padres manager Bob Melvin told MLB.com. "[Soto] ran around, stole a base and felt good. It's nice to get him over there with his guys. Got him out last night, so he could work out with the team for a day before a game."
As CBS Sports recently detailed, the WBC is often shaped by injuries -- not just current ones, but those from the past, too.
Soto, 24, was originally acquired by the Padres at the last trade deadline as part of a blockbuster deal with the Washington Nationals. In parts of five big-league seasons, he's hit .287/.424/.526 (157 OPS+) with 125 home runs and 38 stolen bases. His contributions have been worth an estimated 23.2 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference.
Soto is part of a large Padres contingency with the Dominican Republic. Team DR will also employ third baseman Manny Machado, designated hitter Nelson Cruz, and reliever Luis García. Cruz, a free-agent addition this offseason by San Diego, serves as the club's general manager.
Soto, his Padres brethren, and the rest of the Dominican Republic will open their WBC slate on Saturday with a game against Venezuela. (You can check out the entire WBC schedule by clicking here.) The Dominican Republic is part of Pool D, alongside Israel, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. The two teams with the best record in each pool will advance to what amounts to an eight-team single-elimination tournament to determine the champion.
As for the Padres, they'll begin their regular season on Thursday, March 30, with a home game against the Colorado Rockies.