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Tatis touts fellow 'class' mate Vlad

April 27, 2019

WASHINGTON -- As the baseball world buzzed over Friday’s debut of top-ranked Major League prospect Vlad Guerrero Jr., Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.. was perhaps more proud than excited. “I'm just happy for that 2015 class,” Tatis explained on Friday before San Diego’s series opener against the Nationals. “Him, me,

WASHINGTON -- As the baseball world buzzed over Friday’s debut of top-ranked Major League prospect Vlad Guerrero Jr., Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.. was perhaps more proud than excited.

“I'm just happy for that 2015 class,” Tatis explained on Friday before San Diego’s series opener against the Nationals. “Him, me, [Nationals outfielder Juan] Soto all being here so quickly. Just happy for my boys.”

Like the Blue Jays’ Guerrero, fellow 20-year-olds Tatis and Soto were among the Dominican free agents who signed international free-agent contracts in 2015. And like Guerrero, they’re part of an apparent trend of clubs giving those top prospects big league experience earlier.

Soto made his debut last May for Washington and immediately became an everyday staple, posting a .292/.406/.517 line while homering 22 times and driving in 70 runs in just under 500 at-bats. He finished second in voting for National League Rookie of the Year.

The Padres and GM A.J. Preller surprised some by giving Tatis -- ranked as baseball’s No. 2 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, behind Guerrero -- a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Tatis has rewarded San Diego with a .286/.347/.560 line, and had hit safely in 12 straight games before going 0-for-4 on Friday. Originally batting mainly in the No. 6 or 7 spot, manager Andy Green had no choice but to promote him to leadoff last week.

“We made the decision that we thought was best for us,” Green said Friday. “A.J. executed that decision and obviously as the manager of the club, I was thrilled.”

There’s a strong chance Tatis and Guerrero will both be playing when the Padres visit Toronto on Memorial Day weekend. It’s another weekend series that will generate excitement, including inside the clubhouse.

“I’ve known him since we were babies -- We talk a lot, we help each other,” Tatis said of Guerrero. “There’s going to be a lot of laughs over there.”

Regular rest?

Green said the Padres have yet to decide whether to give Matt Strahm an extra day of rest following his start on Friday.

In his first season as a regular starter, Strahm has been on a strict pitch count. But off-days have allowed him to take every fifth turn in the Padres’ rotation on at least five days’ rest.

That won’t be the case five games from this Friday, when the Padres play the third of four Wednesday in Atlanta.

“We’ll figure that out,” Green said. “Those things are always going to be day-to-day for us right now.”

Relief reinforcement?

Jose Castillo (left elbow) continues to play catch, Green says, though neither he nor Miguel Diaz are expected to return soon to a Padres bullpen that finished Friday having worked 95 innings in 26 games.

“Neither one are particularly close to making it back to the big leagues right now,” Green said.