The San Diego Padres are having mixed feelings about the return of one of their own. Padres players are trying not to get too sentimental about the return of Juan Soto to San Diego. Soto played with the Padres but left last offseason to become a New York Yankee. The Yankees are in town to play a series with the Padres.

“It's fun man, he's been having a hell of a season. I am excited to see him again,” Padres third baseman Manny Machado said. Game 1 of the Padres-Yankees series didn't turn out fun for the Padres, who lost 8-0 to the Yankees Friday. Soto homered for New York in the game.

Machado wasn't alone in his praise for Soto. Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. also gave the Yankees outfielder some love.

Soto played with the Padres for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. He had a great run in San Diego, where he helped the club reach the playoffs during the 2022 campaign.

Soto in New York

New York Yankees right fielder Juan Soto (22) flips his bat after hitting a solo home run against the Chicago White Sox during the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Soto moved to the Yankees in a trade this offseason, after a 82-80 campaign with the Padres last year. The outfielder has found success in the Bronx. Soto is smashing the baseball, hitting .315 on the season with 14 home runs. He also has batted in 43 runs for the Bronx Bombers, who are atop the American League East standings so far this season. The Yankees hold a 36-17 record.

“He’s been pretty awesome,’’ Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, per USA Today. “What I’ve enjoyed is what I believe is a really good teammate and a guy that’s been a really good person in our room.”

Soto has had no trouble adjusting to new pitchers, or to a new division. He has three multi-hit games in his last five outings, along with an astounding three home runs in his last three games. His bat seems to be inspiring his teammates, as Aaron Judge is also hitting more consistently than he was last season.

The Yankees are on a mission of revenge during this campaign. The team finished the 2023 season with an 82-80 record, identical to the Padres. New York missed the playoffs, and that is not acceptable in the Bronx. The Yankees' move for Soto was a centerpiece of the team's rebuild, and it has worked so far.

San Diego without Soto

The Padres have had a quiet campaign so far without Soto. San Diego is 27-27 on the year, and struggling to stay afloat in the National League West division. The team is 5-5 in their last ten games. San Diego is having much more success on the road this season, than at home. While the team is a subpar 10-17 playing in southern California, the club is a red-hot 17-10 on the road. The Padres hope their fortunes at home turn around in the Yankees series, but it hasn't so far.

While Padres players may be showing Soto love, the fans surely aren't. Soto was booed in San Diego Friday, per USA Today. There doesn't seem to be any love lost between Padres nation and the slugging outfielder.

The Yankees and Padres face off against Saturday at 9:40 Eastern. The Padres' respect for Soto will have to go on hold until this series is over. For now, he is a foe on the other side of the baseball diamond.