The San Diego Padres have struggled early on this season, sitting at just 8-9 on the year thus far. However, they are set to get a dramatic boost to their lineup with star player Fernando Tatis Jr. expected to return from his lengthy suspension dating back to last season.
Tatis was dealt an 80-game suspension last August for violating the MLB’s performance-enhancing drug policy. That suspension carried over to the 2023 season, but he will have served his suspension and be cleared to return ahead of Thursday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The former All-Star has been playing for the team’s Triple-A affiliate to begin the season. However, he was seen at batting practice on Monday at Petco Park before the Padres game against the Atlanta Braves.
Fernando Tatis Jr. is back at Petco Park pic.twitter.com/1hTlhWosm2
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) April 17, 2023
Many took notice of this appearance from Tatis and believe that this is a great sign ahead of his likely activation by the Padres later this week.
baseball is better with this dude on the field, no matter how you feel, that’s the truth https://t.co/NOfMVLI6la
— joe toscano™ (@thejoetoscano) April 17, 2023
Ready to see Tatis ball out again https://t.co/8MbZ8z2aqR
— Big Shon (@royal_flush2482) April 17, 2023
EL NINOOO https://t.co/K5Th8K6ggb
— pink lemonade guru. (@HodgessTheGreat) April 18, 2023
Fernando Tatis Jr. is back at Petco Park, taking batting practice, and doing some dancing! pic.twitter.com/f6EPnkNSOT
— Sammy Levitt | Padres Radio Host (@SammyLev) April 17, 2023
It seems like Tatis will remain with the team until his suspension is officially up. According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Tatis will work out at Petco Park for the next three days and travel with the team to Arizona after Wednesday’s game.
Fernando Tatis Jr. will work out at Petco Park the next three days and travel to Arizona with the team after Wednesday’s game.
The plan is for him to not play another minor league game.
(He is still suspended, so he will not be on the field by the time gates open to the public.)
— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) April 17, 2023
In his brief stint with the Padres Triple-A affiliate, Tatis showed sparks of his elite play. He batted .515/.590/1.212 with seven home runs in eight games with the El Paso Chihuahuas.
Fernando Tatis Jr. just homered again.
That’s 6 and counting over the course of 3 games.
His Triple A OPS is nearing 2.000.
April 20th awaits.
— Padres Nation (@NationPadres) April 16, 2023
Tatis’s return will add to what is an absolutely lethal lineup on paper for the Padres, including Juan Soto, Manny Machado, and Xander Bogaerts.