Tatis looking like 'a natural' in OF

Weathers says he feels 'good' despite results; Grisham's homer was historic

August 18th, 2021

DENVER -- Through two games, 's defensive performance in right field reads something like his line in the box score when he returns from an injury:


No, Tatis hasn't truly been tested in right since he made his debut there on Sunday. But he's made the five relatively routine plays hit in his direction look, well, routine.

Tatis caught three lazy fly balls against Arizona on Sunday. He was tested a bit more on Monday night against the Rockies, ranging to both his left and his right -- including a deep Connor Joe fly ball that he tracked down on the warning track.

"Last night it was really good," said manager Jayce Tingler. "He went to the line, he went into the right-center gap. In Arizona he had some high and shallow ones. And with a lot of what we've seen in the early work and the pregame work, he's really adjusted well.

"He's kind of a natural. He looks pretty comfortable out there."

Of course, if there's anyone who could make a position switch seem so easy, it's Tatis -- who makes just about everything he does look easy. In reality, it's not quite so simple.

Tatis' work in right field has been incessant since it became clear that he would return from his injury as an outfielder (a move designed to keep him as healthy as possible).

On Tuesday, Tatis again took reps in right field, this time working extensively on fielding and throwing on the run.

Thus far, the Padres have come away impressed with Tatis' advanced acumen as an outfielder, despite the fact that he'd never played there professionally.

For now, he'll continue playing right field almost exclusively to ease into the position switch. Perhaps down the road, he'll play center if the matchups dictate a day off for the lefty hitting Trent Grisham.

In the meantime, Tatis and Grisham, the reigning Gold Glover in center, are already building a rapport working together in the outfield.

"Man, he's an athlete," Grisham said. "He's picking it up really quickly. He looks really good. He's been very easy to work with in center field. Really it's about pre-pitch, knowing where we're at. He's a big dude, runs really fast, can cover a lot of ground, so I just want to make sure I'm not in the way."

Weathers ailing?
The numbers are stark. Prior to Ryan Weathers' minor ankle fracture last month, the rookie left-hander had a 2.91 ERA. Now, having made five starts since his return from a short IL stint, it's 5.06.

Those numbers prompt a relevant question: Is Weathers still dealing with the effects of that injury, and if so, has it affected his performance.

Asked if he felt 100 percent, Weathers said: "I feel good. [I] make sure I can take that ball every fifth day regardless of how I feel. Yeah, I feel good."

Weathers refused to use health as an excuse for his poor performance. But judging from that response, it sounds as though he might not be 100 percent.

"I don't think anything's lingering [with the ankle]," Tingler said. "I think you're at the part of the season where everybody, whatever they've got, is at 80-90 percent."

Fair enough. Tingler chalked up Weathers' struggles to growing pains for a 21-year-old pitching into August in the big leagues for the first time.

Internally, the Padres are far less concerned about what Weathers' struggles mean in the long-term. They think he'll be just fine in the future. It’s the present that concerns them. The Padres pitching staff does not appear to have the requisite rotation arms, at present.

Weathers’ current struggles might have led to a demotion on a deeper pitching staff. The Padres, however, are asking him to turn things around on the fly at the big league level. To no avail thus far.

Grisham’s clutch blast
The Padres failed to capitalize on it, but Grisham’s game-tying three-run homer in the ninth inning on Monday night took a special place in Padres history.

It marked only the sixth time in franchise history that a Padres hitter has tied a game with two outs in the ninth inning or later by homering with his team down by at least three. It’s also the second time this season – Tatis’ three-run game-tying shot to the train tracks in Houston did the same.

David Eckstein (2009), Khalil Greene (2005), Marty Barrett (1991) and Al Ferrara (1969) are the only other Padres to tie a game in the ninth with a homer with their team trailing by at least three runs. Greene’s was the only grand slam.