Tatis doubled his first time up Sunday, then went deep in his next two at-bats. He added a two-run single later in the day to wrap up a 4-for-5 afternoon. Tatis drove in four runs and scored three in his return to the lineup.
Also of note is that Tatis, who had been sidelined since July 30 with ongoing left shoulder issues, played the outfield for the first time in his MLB career. Tatis had spent his entire MLB career to date at shortstop, but he manned right field in manager Jayce Tingler's lineup against the Diamondbacks.
Tatis was tested four times defensively Sunday. He caught three routine fly balls, and also had to retrieve Ketel Marte's triple into the right field corner. Marte pulled a ground ball down the line, so Tatis never had a chance to convert it into an out. Tatis was removed for a defensive replacement (Jake Marisnick) in the ninth inning.
The move to the outfield isn't a surprise, as Tatis during his recovery process had regularly been shagging flies in the outfield, and although it's Tatis' non-throwing shoulder that's of concern, there's some organizational hope that a move to the outfield will help him stay healthy. Already, Tatis has been on the IL five times across parts of three big-league seasons.
As a primary shortstop, Tatis obviously has the arm strength for right, and his sprint speed, athleticism, instincts and baseball smarts all mean he should be able to adapt smoothly to outfield detail. Given the skills in place, it would hardly be surprising if Tatis eventually settled in as a plus-fielding center fielder for San Diego. Right now, though, it appears that Tatis' move to the outfield could be characterized as temporary:
AJ Preller says that Fernando Tatis is not moving to the outfield permanently.— 97.3 The Fan (@973TheFanSD) August 15, 2021
If, however, you believe all the signs pointing to a long-term future in the outfield for the All-Star, then maybe call it "temporarily temporary." What's certain is that the Padres have heavy incentives to do whatever they can to keep Tatis healthy, as he's signed through the 2034 season for $340 million.
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Whatever his future afield, the Padres have eagerly welcomed back his powerful bat after being no-hit by Tyler Gilbert on Saturday night. As seen above, Tatis has already delivered in a big way. His presence will be huge moving forward as the Padres attempt to maintain their grip on the second and final NL wild card spot while also remaining within range of the NL West lead.