Fernando Tatis Jr. on Tuesday played his first game for the San Diego Padres in nearly 17 months.
Tatis went 0-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base and scored a run in a 7-5 victory over the San Francisco Giants. He was the designated hitter in his first game since the 2021 regular-season finale.
“I saw that it was 500 or something days since I was out there,” Tatis said. “Since the beginning of spring I thought about this.”
Tatis missed all of last season. He was about to come back from wrist surgery when he was suspended on Aug. 12 for 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. Tatis blamed his positive test on a cream he stated he took for ringworm. He had surgery on his troublesome shoulder during the suspension.
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“The shoulder and wrist are 100%,” Tatis said Tuesday. “Everything feels good.”
With 20 games left to serve on his suspension, Tatis won’t be eligible to play in the regular season until at least April 20.
The 24-year-old former starting shortstop also is moving to the outfield after the Padres added four-time All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts on a $280 million, 11-year contract in free agency.
Tatis’ return came on the same day the Padres finalized a $350 million, 11-year contract with All-Star slugger Manny Machado. Machado’s deal is the fourth largest in baseball history and goes through the 2033 season.
Tatis signed a $340 million, 14-year deal before the 2021 season.
The Padres project to have the third-highest payroll in the majors this season at $255 million, trailing only the New York Mets and Yankees.
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