Fernando Tatis Jr. Absolutely Mashed In Perhaps His Last Triple-A Game Before Returning From Suspension

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In case you forgot, Fernando Tatis Jr. is one of the best players in all of Major League Baseball.

But if you did forget, it’s easy to understand why.

Tatis Jr. finished third in the National League MVP race in 2021 and was primed for a massive 2022 season as the Padres looked to compete for a World Series.

But it never even got to that point. Tatis broke his wrist prior to the season even beginning. Then, as he was nearing a return, he was suspended 80 games for use of a banned substance.

Fast forward a number of months and Tatis Jr. is finally healthy, but he still has a handful of games remaining on his MLB suspension.

The suspension does not, however, apply completely to the Minor Leagues, where Tatis Jr. is allowed to play in up to 10 games so long as he does not receive a paycheck.

Seems weird, right?

And so that’s where Tatis Jr. is waiting out his sentence.

The star shortstop-turned-outfielder is playing for the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas. And he’s absolutely raking.

He hit three home runs for the Chihuahuas on Thursday night and knocked in eight runs on five total hits. The performance raised his jaw-dropping slash line to .478/.586/1.087.

Turns out he’s still got it!

Tatis Jr. is eligible to return to the Padres on April 20 when San Diego squares off with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“Based on what we saw in Spring Training and who he is, there’s obviously a high expectation level,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said of Tatis Jr.’s return. “But you do have to temper it, knowing that he basically hasn’t played in a year and a half. He’s getting his games in now.”

Melvin may want to temper expectations. But fans likely won’t be doing much of that after Thursday night’s insane performance.