San Diego Padres superstar Fernando Tatís Jr. returned from the injured list on Sunday after being out since July 31 due to a partially dislocated left shoulder. The shoulder has been an issue all season, but the Padres need Tatís after playing some rough baseball of late, which includes losing four straight games entering play on Sunday- and three straight games to the Arizona Diamondbacks (owner’s of MLB’s worst record). They were even no-hit by a guy making his first MLB start on Saturday night.

So, the Padres activated Tatís from the IL, and proceeded to start him at a position other than shortstop for the first time in his career. Tatís played right field, with the Padres hoping the position will be less physically demanding than shortstop- at least as long as he doesn’t dive or crash into any walls (things they’ve surely told him not to do). Additionally, it gives the Padres more positional flexibility- they recently acquired second baseman Adam Frazier, nad to go with Jake Cronenworth, who’s moved from second base to shortstop when Frazier plays.

While it may take some time getting used to playing a new position, Tatís showed that his offensive game is still in prime form.

Tatís went 4-for-5, cranking two home runs and a double in the Padres’ 8-2 win over Arizona.

That’s quickly making a *massive* impact.

And for perspective on how impactful Tatís is when he’s been the field this season, he’s been worth an NL-leading 4.9 wins above replacement (WAR) according to FanGraphs, despite playing only 89 games and having 370 plate appearances. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the MLB leader in WAR among position players at 5.3, but that’s in 116 games and 499 plate appearances. Every other player in the top-7 has played at least 111 games. Tatís is on a completely different level of value in a per-game basis.

So, he’s extremely crucial to the Padres and their playoff hopes, even if it means moving out to right field. And he certainly showed why in his first game back from the IL.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

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