San Diego Padres superstar Fernando Tatis Jr continues to deal with a shoulder injury that's put him on the IL five times this season. It's a recurring problem for the Padres shortstop, but the organization has a solution to protect his longevity for the rest of 2021.
According to sources close to The Athletic's Dennis Lin, San Diego plans to use Tatis Jr in the outfield when he returns from the IL:
The Padres have broached the idea of moving Fernando Tatis Jr. to the outfield to preserve his health this season.
Tatis responded enthusiastically, multiple people on the team tell @dennistlin.
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— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) August 11, 2021
Tatis has actually embraced the idea and is up for the challenge. Jake Cronenworth has been playing shortstop in the meantime and has done well in place of his Padres teammate. Putting Tatis in the outfield could be a smart decision. It's a lot less tiring compared to playing the infield and there's more time to react to a ball hit. He's also one of the most electric athletes in the game and has looked like a natural shagging fly balls in the last week.
Despite his injury woes this season, Tatis Jr is having another brilliant campaign for the Padres. In 87 games, the 22-year-old is hitting .292 with an NL-leading 31 home runs and 70 RBI's.
He has an absolute cannon and would have no problems throwing runners out from center or right, depending on where they use him most. San Diego is also exploring the possibility of Tatis Jr permanently switching positions given how agile and quick he is.
In the end, it's all about having Fernando Tatis Jr's bat in the lineup. He will thrive wherever you put him on the diamond.