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Triple-A Pitchers Must Be Thrilled That Fernando Tatis Jr. Is Leaving

Fernando Tatis Jr.'s stint with the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas came to an end on Sunday, and the rest of the Pacific Coast League must be relieved. The Padres shortstop's 80-game PED suspension prevents him from playing for San Diego until April 20, and as you might expect from an uninjured major-league hitter facing inferior pitching, he was mashing. We already wrote about his three-homer game on Thursday; since then, he hit three more.

Tatis Jr. followed up Thursday's 5-for-6, three-dong, eight-RBI performance with a 4-for-5, two-dong, three-RBI showing Saturday. There was one point across those two games in which he had eight consecutive hits.

On Sunday, Tatis Jr. hit yet another homer in his first at-bat, and finished the game "only" 2-for-5:

So across those three games, he went 11-for-16 with six homers and 12 RBI—30 total bases. All of it came against the poor Albuquerque Isotopes. Tatis Jr.'s non-homer hit today was a single off Daniel Bard, the Colorado Rockies reliever rehabbing in the minors after he went on the injured list with anxiety. (Bard then struck out the next three batters for a scoreless inning; he's a major-league pitcher after all.) In his month of April with the Chihuahuas, Tatis Jr. slashed an absurd .515/.590/1.212. He struck out a total of three times.

Tatis Jr.'s 2022 was a total wash, and the PED suspension was only one part of it. He was involved in a motorcycle accident in December 2021 and showed up to spring training with a fractured wrist. He needed two surgeries for that injury, and another for the labrum in his left shoulder. The Padres had concerns about the maturity of the guy they signed to a $340 million deal, but this month's lights-out hitting is a strong reminder of why they made that commitment.

Per Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Tatis Jr. is scheduled to have one final tuneup game on Tuesday playing for the Single-A Lake Elsinore Storm. The opposing Modesto Nuts did not sign up for this.

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