The San Diego Padres have been playing great baseball, and the team got stronger on Wednesday. Superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and All-Star first baseman Eric Hosmer were reinstated from the COVID-related injured list on Wednesday, ahead of San Diego's game against the Colorado Rockies. Tatis had tested positive for COVID-19 while Hosmer had been sidelined due to contact tracing.
Tatis, 22, had managed only 26 games this season due to a previous shoulder injury and now the COVID issue. He's hitting .240/.315/.552 (143 OPS+) with three doubles, nine homers, 14 RBI, 23 runs and seven steals.
He wasted little time padding those numbers, as he delivered a fourth-inning home run that put the Padres up 1-0:
Tatis later added an RBI double to pad the Padres' lead to 3-0. (He stole a base on Wednesday afternoon as well.)
Interestingly, the Padres slotted Tatis in at fourth and Hosmer fifth in Wednesday's lineup. Tatis had previously has batted mostly first or second and is hitting cleanup for the first time in his career. This appears to be a "hot hand" or "stick with what works" situation.
Hosmer, 31, is hitting .305/.370/.443 (133 OPS+) with six doubles, four homers and 21 RBI in 35 games this season.
- Trent Grisham sits at the top and he's having another good season. It makes sense.
- Manny Machado hits second. This will be his sixth straight game there. In his last five games he's 5 for 19 with two doubles, a homer and six RBI.
- Jake Cronenworth is third. Same as Machado, it's his sixth game in a row here. In his last five, he's 10 for 19 (.526) with two doubles and six runs scored.
With Tatis leaning so far this year much heavier on power than on-base skills and Hosmer in a nice position to rack up RBI, this might well end up sticking as their long-term 1-5 in the order.
Heading into Wednesday's bout with the Rockies in Petco Park, the Padres had won eight of their last nine games and were sitting at 26-17 on the season. That put them just a half-game behind the best record in baseball, which belongs to the Giants, meaning the Padres are a half-game out in the NL West as well.