Bernie Wilson, The Associated Press
SAN DIEGO — Freshly arrived at Petco Park, Juan Soto quickly warned other clubs of the danger posed by the attack of the Padres, his new team.
Soto and Josh Bell were in the San Diego lineup against the Rockies on Wednesday.
The group already included star slugger Manny Machado. Another big name, shortstop Fernando Tatis, is expected to recover from a broken left wrist before the end of the month.
“We’re going to be very tough to play…I wish the pitchers good luck,” Soto said with a smile.
“It’s going to be really exciting. This club has everything it takes to win the World Series.
Soto was hitting second on Wednesday, ahead of Machado and Bell.
Soto and Bell were acquired from Washington in return for MacKenzie Gore, Luke Voit, James Wood, CJ Abrams, Robert Hassell III and Jarlin Susana.
The Dodgers have a big lead in their division but the Padres are in good shape to reach the playoffs, via the top 3 clubs not winning a division title.
One of baseball’s best young hitters, Soto is glad Bell was included in the deal.
“I expected to be the only one traded,” said the 23-year-old Dominican. Josh and I are getting along well so when I heard the news, I was thrilled. I know what he can bring to a team.”
A star player in 2021 and 2022, Soto first helped the Nationals win the World Series in 2019. The following year, he was the Nationals batting champion (.351).
The Padres haven’t reached the Fall Classic since 1998, when they were swept by the New York Yankees.
Soto and Bell have gone from the club with the worst record in the major leagues to a team that can now go very far.
“It’s very fun and very challenging,” Soto said.
Bell added: “As a player, we give everything we have regardless of the uniform, but there’s a bit more bite when you’re on the run. It helps to want to show up a little earlier at the stadium, that sort of thing. I am thrilled with this opportunity.”
Soto and Tatis are both 23 years old. They have known each other for a long time, having played together in the Dominican U23 League.
“I love that guy,” Tatis said. We were in the same team at 15-16 years old, and there it becomes true again. It’s crazy.”