Juan Soto often talks about how fond he is of D.C. and the time he spent playing in Washinton with the Nationals.

And the superstar slugger, who joined the Yankees this offseason, particularly connected with one coach who had a background in the Bronx.


Brittany Ghiroli of The Atheltic wrote in a story published on Wednesday that one of the toughest adjustments for Soto while with the Nationals in 2022 was losing hitting coach Kevin Long, who took the same job with the Phillies before the season.



The Nationals replaced Long with former Diamondbacks hitting coach Darnell Coles, and according to Ghiroli, multiple team sources said it wasn’t a good fit for Soto, who hit .246 with a .894 OPS that year before he was traded to the Padres.

“He didn’t connect with Darnell at all,” said a former Nationals coach. “There’s nothing worse than being a player and feeling alone and like the only guy who can help you is Kevin, who is on the other side of the field. I think it hurt Juan and pushed him into seclusion.”

Long served as Yankees hitting coach from 2007 to 2014. During his stint in the Bronx, the Yankees led the American League in runs scored three times (and finished in second twice) and won the World Series in 2009.

Long was also hitting coach for the Mets from 2015 to 2017 before he was hired by the Nationals.