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#pounditFriday, August 12, 2022

Padres may make radical change when Fernando Tatis Jr. returns

Fernando Tatis Jr. running

Feb 28, 2020; Peoria, Arizona, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr against the Chicago Cubs during a spring training game at Peoria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres expect to have Fernando Tatis Jr. back within the next month, but his return from injury will leave the team with a bit of a conundrum positionally.

The Padres have been impressed with the defensive ability of Ha-Seong Kim, who has been filling in at the position with Tatis hurt. There is at least some consideration being given to moving Tatis to center field upon his return, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The consideration exists both to keep Kim’s glove on the field and to protect Tatis from potential re-injury.

Tatis had previously been adamant about playing shortstop, but when Rosenthal asked him about a potential move to center, the Padres star admitted he was open to a position change “if it means we’re going to win more ballgames.” That answer was similar to the one he gave when asked about the prospect last year.

The Padres experimented with Tatis in the outfield at the end of the 2021 season, so the idea is not new. The thinking seems to be that playing there could allow him to show off more of his athleticism with a lower risk of injury. Of course, Tatis would run the risk of diving attempts or running into walls that could cause physical issues, but that will be true of him anywhere on the field.

The team has also gotten little offense from center fielder Trent Grisham, so there is motivation to try to find an upgrade there. Clearly, no decision has been made, but the situation bears watching.

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