Padres’ left fielder Soto scratched late vs. Yankees with back tightness

San Diego Padres' Juan Soto stands at first base during the ninth inning of the team's baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Thursday, May 25, 2023, in Washington. The Padres won 8-6. (Nick Wass/AP Photo)

NEW YORK (AP) — Padres left fielder Juan Soto was a late scratch from San Diego’s game against the New York Yankees on Sunday because of back tightness.

The injury was announced about 10 minutes before first pitch.

Soto was held out of the starting lineup for the first time this season and replaced by José Azocar. Soto was set to bat third in San Diego’s original lineup, and Xander Bogaerts moved to that spot after not starting Saturday because of wrist soreness.

“I wasn’t comfortable, he’s played so much here and he had some stiffness,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “I just wasn’t comfortable with that. We figured we’d take one swing with him at some point in time.”

Soto came up as a pinch hitter and grounded out in the ninth against Clay Holmes, ending his 11-game on-base streak.

Melvin said he expects Soto to start Tuesday’s series opener against the Marlins.

Soto hit a two-run homer Friday in a 5-1 win after fouling a pitch off his left knee. He hit a 432-foot drive to right field that came off the bat at 114 mph, the Padres’ hardest-hit home run this season.

Soto is batting .261 with 10 homers and 24 RBIs in his first full season with the Padres, who acquired him from Washington at last year’s trade deadline.

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