PHOENIX -- Fernando Tatis Jr., who had been on the injured list since July 31 because of a partial left shoulder dislocation, was activated Sunday and inserted into the lineup in right field.
Tatis, coming off of his third stint on the IL this year, has partially dislocated his left shoulder at least four times. The belief is that a shift to the outfield will minimize the chances of another shoulder subluxation.
Tatis hit two homers against the D-backs in his first game back -- an 8-2 Padres victory -- and made three putouts in right field.
“It's not that he's moving to the outfield permanently or anything like that,” Padres general manager A.J. Preller said before the game. “What we've talked to him about is that it will be combination getting him in the lineup and about our team and what may fit with our club. It is an idea that he brought up in terms of going to the outfield and something he wants to do. He's obviously a very good athlete and can play all over the field.”
Tatis' return could not come at a better time for the Padres. They were no-hit on Saturday, and the club took a four-game losing streak into the series finale at Chase Field. The club was outscored 29-5 during those four games.
What’s more, the Tatis-less offense posted a .181/.224/.283 slash line with one home run and averaged 1.25 runs per game during the four losses. Expanded to the past 10 games, the Padres slashed .247/.303/.377 with six home runs and 3.6 runs per game.
The Padres still took a lead of 2 1/2 games over the Reds for the second National League Wild Card spot into Sunday, with six weeks left of regular-season play.
“It’s not, ‘Hey, we’ve lost three games in a row, here comes Fernando to the rescue,” Preller said. “It’s been a really detailed process where the focus is on the long-term health of Fernando Tatis and his career. It’s definitely not about today or next week or anything like that. For us, it’s about hundreds of conversations with doctors and our medical team, our training staff and Tatis himself.”
Tatis had been working out in the outfield and shortstop all week, including at the club’s Spring Training complex in nearby Peoria, Ariz., on Saturday morning. He then took batting practice on the field at Chase Field before the Padres faced the D-backs that evening.
“We've seen him in the outfield; we've seen him at shortstop,” Preller said. “It will be up to [Padres manager Jayce Tingler] day to day, and also checking with Fernando and seeing where he's at, and what we think is best for the team.”