June 6: The Padres announced that Tatis has indeed been activated. France was optioned to Triple-A El Paso in a corresponding move.
Tatis’ comeback will be a long-awaited return for the Padres, who have gone just 15-19 since the 20-year-old rookie last played April 28. San Diego jumped out to a 16-12 start with Tatis before he suffered a left hamstring strain. At that point, Tatis may have been the NL Rookie of the Year front-runner. He batted .300/.360/.550 with six home runs and six steals in 111 plate appearances prior to his IL placement, thus delivering on the considerable hype he garnered in his days as a minor leaguer.
Thanks in part to Tatis’ output thus far, the 31-31 Padres are within three games of a wild-card spot in the National League. The Padres haven’t earned a playoff berth since 2006, but if they’re going to return to the postseason this year, a healthy Tatis will likely play a key role. No matter how this season shakes out for the Friars, it’s fair to say Tatis is a sizable upgrade over Greg Garcia and Ty France – who have gotten significant playing time as a result of his injury.
Garcia and France have filled in at third during Tatis’ absence, while Manny Machado has occupied shortstop instead of the hot corner. Fortunately for San Diego, though, it appears Tatis and Machado are about to reunite along the left side of its infield.