March 27, 2023
Manager Bob Melvin suggested Monday that Tatis (suspension) could serve as the Padres' leadoff hitter once he's eligible to make his 2023 MLB debut April 20, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com
reports. "Man, it just feels like there's a special kind of impact that he has leading off," Melvin said.
Tatis is batting second in Monday's Cactus League finale versus the Mariners, but he led off in Sunday's 5-5 tie with Seattle. He heads into Monday's contest with a .286/.354/.452 slash line with two home runs and three stolen bases, and more importantly, he's displayed no ill effects of the surgeries he underwent last fall on his left wrist and left shoulder. Tatis will have the opportunity to stay dialed in at the plate while participating in minor-league rehab games shortly before his 20-game suspension lapses in late April, at which time Melvin will likely reassess where the 24-year-old fits best in the lineup. If Tatis ends up settling into the leadoff spot, he should have no shortage of run-scoring opportunities while slotting directly in front of Juan Soto
, Manny Machado
and Xander Bogaerts