He's back! Tatis blasts HR after absence

March 12th, 2021

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Fernando Tatis Jr. Spring Training Extravaganza.

Tatis’ great spring was put on pause for six days as he battled a (non-COVID) bug. But the magnetic shortstop was back in action for Friday’s game, a 5-4 loss to the A's, at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz., and it took him all of a couple minutes to make his presence felt with a monstrous leadoff home run off Sergio Romo in the top of the first.

After working the count full as Romo delivered slider after slider, Tatis mashed the sixth and final slider deep past the left-field wall. (Fun/useless trivia: The first homer Romo allowed in the big leagues was to Fernando Tatis Sr., on July 10, 2008.)

Not only did Tatis’ swing appear to be in midseason form, but so was his swag. He briefly admired the beautiful blast and clapped his hand before heading to first, then did a little stutter-step as he rounded third.

“He’s doing Tatis things,” Padres starter Chris Paddack said. “I’m glad he’s on our team. He’s just out there being a kid. He’s enjoying the game and having fun.”

Even A's manager Bob Melvin agreed.

"I think he's gonna have a nice little career ahead of him, and he's getting paid like it now, too. The thing that really stands out is he looks like he's just playing in the park. He's always got a smile on his face. He's laughing and enjoying himself. In a game that sometimes can be pretty stoic, he's probably a little bit against the grain as far as that goes."

That home run was Tatis’ second of the spring. He went on to single later in the game. He’s now 6-for-12 with five RBIs and four runs scored. On the heels of his 14-year, $340 million extension, the spotlight on Tatis is bigger than ever, and he is relishing in it in Cactus League play, to date.

The only thing stopping Tatis was the flu. But he showed up Friday feeling much better.

“He feels great,” manager Jayce Tingler said. “He’s had some great work days and is ready to go.”

The home run left no doubt.