PHOENIX — Fernando Tatis Jr. wasted no time making an impact for the San Diego Padres in his return from the injured list Sunday, slugging his 32nd and 33rd homers against the Arizona Diamondbacks while playing right field for the first time as a professional.
The 22-year-old All-Star — batting leadoff — ripped a double down the left-field line in his first at-bat but was stranded at third in the first inning. He added a solo homer in the third on a towering fly ball that landed in the left-field stands and another solo shot in the fifth that easily cleared the wall in approximately the same spot.
The Padres are trying to snap a four-game losing streak and keep pace in the National League playoff race.
Tatis also caught David Peralta‘s fly to right for the final out of the bottom of the first.
Tatis had been on the injured list since July 31 after partially dislocating his left shoulder for the third time this season.
The electrifying star usually plays shortstop, but the Padres decided to move him to the outfield for the time being. The hope is there’s less chance Tatis will get hurt, allowing him to stay in the lineup for the rest of the season.
Tatis came into the game batting .292 with 31 homers and 23 stolen bases.
Tatis suffered a partially dislocated left shoulder on a violent swing April 5 against San Francisco and went on the 10-day injured list. He reinjured the shoulder diving for a ball and left a game against Cincinnati on June 19 but missed only one game.
He left a spring training game after hurting the shoulder while making a throw but was back two days later. He revealed then that he had been dealing with shoulder discomfort since his minor league days. Tatis also missed eight games in mid-May after testing positive for COVID-19.
He became the first Padres player voted to start an All-Star Game since Tony Gwynn in 1999.
The news wasn’t all positive for the Padres on Sunday as the team placed right-hander Yu Darvish on the 10-day injured list with lower back tightness, retroactive to Friday.
San Diego entered Sunday’s action third in the NL West, 10 games behind the San Francisco Giants, but holds a 2½-game lead for the second wild-card spot.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.