A hit is a hit, even if it’s only spring training.
And for Fernando Tatis Jr., it’s been a long time coming.
The San Diego Padres superstar had been 0 for 16 this spring before hitting a smash shot off the glove of Chicago White Sox shortstop Erik Gonzalez for a single in the first inning March 11, at Peoria, Arizona. The hit came against former teammate Mike Clevinger. Tatis later added a two-run double.
They were the first hits in 526 days for Tatis, who missed all of last season. He was on the cusp of returning from surgery on his left wrist when he was suspended for 80 games by major league baseball after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
“I remember how to hit,” Tatis told reporters. “It’s definitely clicking, feeling great.”
Manager Bob Melvin said he was never worried about Tatis.
“All he needed to do was get a good swing. It’s going to be off to the races,” the manager said.
Tatis isn’t eligible to return to the active roster until April 20. When he comes back, he’ll be in right field. The Padres signed shortstop Xander Bogaerts to a $280 million, 11-year contract in December.
Until Saturday, Tatis’ last hit was on Oct. 2, 2021, against the San Francisco Giants.
After his suspension, Tatis had surgery on his troublesome left shoulder. When he returns to the active roster, he’ll join fellow superstars Bogaerts, Manny Machado and Juan Soto in a potent lineup.
D-Backs spend big on Carroll
Outfielder Corbin Carroll and the Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to an eight-year deal with a club option for the 2031 season, the team announced.
The contract is worth $111 million, according to a person familiar with the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition on anonymity because the financial terms weren’t announced. MLB.com first reported the deal.
The 22-year-old Carroll is one of baseball’s top prospects and among the betting favorites — according to FanDuel Sportsbook — to win Rookie of the Year this season. Carroll was very good in a late-season cameo last season, batting .260 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 32 games.
The Diamondbacks aren’t historically a big-spending team but were willing to pay to make Carroll a franchise cornerstone. The soft-spoken speedster is a Seattle native.
He’s part of a young core of D-backs players, including outfielders Alek Thomas, Jake McCarthy, catcher Gabriel Moreno and pitchers Brandon Pfaadt, Drey Jameson and Tommy Henry. Arizona finished with a 74-88 record last season.