San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. finally returned to the active roster on Thursday.
He hadn’t played with them since 2021, when he had 42 homers, 25 stolen bases, and 7.2 Wins Above Replacement (WAR).
But he fractured his wrist and missed several months to start the 2022 campaign, then was caught using steroids and was slapped with an 80-game suspension that prevented him from returning at all last year.
After wrist and shoulder surgeries and a rehab stint in Triple-A El Paso, here we are: Tatis is a big leaguer again.
He completely tore apart Triple-A pitching in these past few weeks, with a .515/.590/1.212 line, seven home runs, and 15 RBI in 39 plate appearances.
He was impossible to get out for poor Triple-A pitchers.
He was so good that his stint there was an injection of confidence to approach the regular season.
“Fernando Tatis Jr. was asked about his level of confidence after his stint in Triple A. ‘110 percent,’ he said,” Padres insider Dennis Lin tweeted.
Fernando Tatis Jr. was asked about his level of confidence after his stint in Triple A. "110 percent," he said.
— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) April 21, 2023
He proved his shoulder and wrist are just fine by handling Triple-A pitching with ease.
Now, the challenge will be to put those body parts to the test against top-notch velocity and excellent breaking pitches in MLB.
He went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in his first game back on Thursday, but better days are ahead for the former MVP candidate.
MLB pitching is definitely harder than Triple-A so it might be a little while until he gets going.
Once he does, his potential to carry the Padres is tantalizing.
He remains probably the most important long-term piece on the roster.NEXT: Padres Writer Comments On Juan Soto's Shocking Struggles