PHOENIX, AZ — El Niño is back and back in style. After 564 days out of Major League Baseball, San Diego Padres superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. made his long-awaited return to the big leagues last night at Chase Field.
That sound 😍 pic.twitter.com/zDx4jUPc6B
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) April 21, 2023
“It was not easy and that’s for sure,” Tatis said in pregame batting practice about his road back to MLB, and serving an 80-game suspension. “It was a really good time for me just to sit down, and learn more about the game – what I can do better as a hitter, defender, and as a baseball player.”
“I feel like I got a lot of feedback from myself and from people, who know a lot about the game.”
A mixed reaction in Arizona as Fernando Tatis Jr. steps up to the plate for his first AB of the season
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) April 21, 2023
The 24-year-old, of San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, finished 0-5 at the plate as the Padres defeated the Diamondbacks by a final score of 7-5. Additionally, Tatis Jr., played a stellar right-field, tracking down a flyball in the bottom of the eighth inning to rob Josh Rojas of an extra base-hit.
— Bally Sports San Diego (@BallySportsSD) April 21, 2023
Throughout the evening, he received a mixed reaction from the crowd of 16,734, however; the atmosphere felt like a Padres home game. Several sections were filled in with “#23 Tatis Jr.” jerseys and Padres apparel.
“I embraced the fans,” Tatis said following Thursday’s victory. “I embraced everything. Just happy to be back out there… Just me getting back on the field, I feel like that was just the full highlight of the day for me.”
“Remembering everything I went through, every single process, every surgery, every moment at night at midnight when I would wake up just thinking what I was going to do next in my life.”
Now overall, when you take a look at San Diego’s lineup, one could argue, it’s the most talented trio of Dominican position players in MLB History. And their career numbers back it up…
Fernando Tatis Jr. – 2020 National League LatinoMVP
81 HR, 195 RBI, 303 Hits, 52 SB – 274 games played
Juan Soto – 2021 National League LatinoMVP
.283/.422/.522 slash line with 129 HR, 383 RBI, 625 Hits – Six Seasons (2018-2023)
Manny Machado – 2022 National League LatinoMVP
.281/.340/.490 slash line with 284 HR, 860 RBI, 1,616 Hits – 12 Seasons (2012-2023)
“It’s great to be back out there with my boys,” Tatis said. “Just happy to get that ‘W’ and be back out there.”
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