30-year-old Nationals rookie Joey Meneses hits HR in MLB debut after Juan Soto trade prompts call-up

Tuesday was a rough day for Washington Nationals fans.

The arduous teardown of the 2019 World Series team reached its gut-punching pinnacle with the trade of Juan Soto, a 23-year-old generational talent whose best days will now arrive in another uniform. For good measure, the Nationals threw in their next best offensive player Josh Bell in the deal with the San Diego Padres.

But for a moment at Nationals Park on Monday, there was a brief respite from the woes of the day in the form of a silver lining only baseball can produce.

Soto's and Bell's exit meant that Washington pieced together a more haphazard lineup than usual to face two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom in his return to the New York Mets from a lengthy injury layoff. That meant the call-up of first baseman Joey Meneses to help fill out the lineup.

For Meneses, it meant his MLB debut at 30 years old after 12 years in the minors and international baseball. He made the most of it. With deGrom pulled after five one-run innings, Meneses took the batter's box in the seventh to face Mets reliever Yoan Lopez.

Lopez's first pitch was a 96 mph fastball that Meneses sent over the right field wall to extend Washington's unlikely lead to 5-1. His first major league hit was also his first major league home run.

The solo shot prompted calls of "Jo-ey, Jo-ey, Jo-ey" during his next at-bat.

The home run was Meneses' only hit of the day as he finished 1-4 at the plate. But it was more than enough to deliver some feel-good to a Nationals fanbase that was otherwise having a bad day. An unexpected 5-1 win for the home team certainly didn't hurt.