MLB

Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. makes first career outfield start, homers in return from shoulder injury

The struggling San Diego Padres welcomed back superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. to the roster and lineup on Sunday against the Diamondbacks (SD-ARI GameTracker). He didn’t take long to make an impact. 

Tatis doubled his first time up, and his second time up he did this: 

The 22-year-old Tatis is now batting .295/.376/.661 with 32 homers, 21 doubles, and 23 stolen bases in 88 games this season. 

Also of note is that Tatis, who had been sidelined since July 30 with ongoing left shoulder issues, is playing the outfield for the first time in his MLB career. Tatis had spent his entire MLB career to date at shortstop, but he manned right field in Jayce Tingler’s lineup against the Diamondbacks

The move isn’t a surprise, as Tatis during his recovery process had regularly been shagging flies in the outfield, and although it’s Tatis’ non-throwing shoulder that’s of concern, there’s some organizational hope that a move to the outfield will help him stay healthy. Already, Tatis has been on the IL five times across parts of three big-league seasons. 

As a primary shortstop, Tatis obviously has the arm strength for right, and his sprint speed, athleticism, instincts, and baseball smarts all mean he should be able to adapt smoothly to outfield detail. Given the skills in place, it would hardly be surprising if Tatis eventually settled in as a plus-fielding center fielder for San Diego. Right now, though, it appears that Tatis’ move to the outfield may be characterized as temporary: 

If, however, you believe all the signs pointing to a long-term future in the outfield for the All-Star, then maybe call it “temporarily temporary.” What’s certain is that the Padres have heavy incentives to do whatever they can to keep Tatis healthy, as he’s signed through the 2034 season for $340 million.

Whatever his future afield, the Padres have eagerly welcomed back his powerful bat after being no-hit by Tyler Gilbert on Saturday night. As seen above ,Tatis has already delivered in a big way. His presence will be huge moving award, as the Padres attempt to maintain their grip on the second and final NL wild card spot while also remaining within range of the NL West lead.



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