A hit is a hit, even if it’s just spring training. For San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr., it’s been a long time coming.
Tatis went 0-for-16 this spring before hitting a smash shot off the glove of the Chicago White Sox shortstop Erik Gonzalez for a single in the first inning Saturday in Peoria, Arizona. The right came against a former colleague Mike Clevinger. Tatis later added a two-run double.
They were the first hits in 526 days for Tatis, who missed all of last season. He was on the verge of returning from surgery on his left wrist when he was suspended 80 games by major league baseball after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
“He hasn’t played in a while. He’s going to get hit,” manager Bob Melvin said last week when asked about Tatis’ slump. “I’m sure he’s a little frustrated right now, and he’s doing a lot of work, too. The last thing I’m worried about is Fernando Tatis hit or not.”
Tatis is not eligible to return to the active roster until April 20. When he does, he will be in right field. The Padres signed the shortstop Xander Bogaerts to a $280 million, 11-year contract in December.
Until Saturday, Tatis’ last hit was on Oct. 2, 2021, against San Francisco Giants.