DETROIT (AP) — Fernando Tatis Jr. is back in the batter’s box, and the San Diego Padres’ $340 million star could face live pitching later this week.
Tatis took batting practice with teammates before Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Tigers, his first rounds with the club since breaking his left wrist in spring training.
The Padres also announced Tuesday that young left-hander MacKenzie Gore had been placed on the 15-day injured list with left elbow inflammation.
The 23-year-old Tatis is expected to begin facing live pitching later this week, then begin a minor league rehab assignment before eventually making his season debut with the big league team.
Tatis looked well Tuesday and hit several balls into the left-field stands.
“It felt normal,” he said.
Tatis hit .282 with 42 homers last season, finishing third in NL MVP voting despite missing time with left shoulder injuries. He signed a $340 million, 14-year deal with San Diego prior to the 2021 season.
Gore was pulled from a relief outing Monday at Detroit, when his fastball velocity was down more than 2 mph from his season average.
A first-round draft pick in 2017, Gore (4-4, 4.50 ERA) had ranked among the game’s top pitching prospects but didn’t debut in the majors until this season. He was exceptional early in the year, going 4-1 with a 1.50 ERA in his first nine games, including eight starts.
Monday was his second straight outing out of the bullpen after San Diego transitioned from a six-man rotation to a five-man staff. Gore’s 70 innings pitched this season are already 19 2/3 more than he threw in 2021, and he was on pace to far exceed his career high in the minors of 101 innings.
Gore’s name had been mentioned in trade speculation ahead of next Tuesday’s deadline, in particular if the Padres took a run at Washington Nationals star outfielder Juan Soto.
Relief pitcher Dinelson Lamet was recalled from Triple-A El Paso to take Gore’s place.
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