San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. will begin a rehab assignment this weekend in San Antonio with the club's Double-A affiliate as he nears a return from a wrist injury that has sidelined him for the entire 2022 season.
There is still no firm timetable for his return.
"I don't think we have a set amount of at-bats," Padres manager Bob Melvin said of the club's goals for Tatis' assignment. "And also, you'd like to get a guy back here when he's swinging the bat pretty well too. We are later in the season; this isn't going to be a three-week process to get him back here, so we'll just take it day to day and see where he is physically and how he's feeling at the plate."
Tatis was one of the best players in MLB in 2021. He finished with 42 home runs, 25 steals and a .611 slugging percentage. The dynamic shortstop showed exactly why the Padres were willing to hand him a 14-year, $340 million extension
That made it all the more frustrating when Tatis underwent surgery on his wrist in the offseason.
Padres general manager A.J. Preller made it clear when he provided an update in mid-June the 23-year-old was no closer to returning.
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A.J. Preller said Fernando Tatis Jr.'s imaging yesterday did not show enough healing in his wrist for him to begin swinging a bat. Preller said the exam overall was "positive." The Padres plan to take it week to week with Tatis' timeline. No decision yet on his next wrist scan.
Despite missing their best player, the Padres are 61-47 and on pace to claim a wild-card berth in the National League.
Manny Machado has played at an MVP-type level, while Jake Cronenworth, Jurickson Profar and the rest of the offense have done enough to make up for Tatis' absence, with Juan Soto joining the club from the Washington Nationals ahead of the trade deadline.
Still, there's a sense San Diego is treading water a bit until Tatis is finally back in the lineup and that the team's World Series hopes rest on his contributions.