Xander Bogaerts' recovery seems to be going as planned. In preparation for his highly-anticipated return, the slugger will be getting some reps in with Single-A Lake Elsinore on Wednesday and Thursday. Additionally, Bogaerts is reportedly on track to rejoin the San Diego Padres in their final series before the All-Star break. (per Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Back on May 20, the infielder hurt his left shoulder while diving for a ground ball against the Atlanta Braves. While initial scans didn't show anything serious, further testing revealed that Bogaerts suffered a shoulder fracture. This kept him sidelined for the rest of May and the entirety of June.

He eventually progressed to a Triple-A assignment this past week, seeing action in four games with El-Paso. During that span, Bogaerts went 2-for-11 (.182) with an extra-base hit and four walks. While one can argue that the four-time All-Star might need more time to find his footing, Bogaerts himself feels that he's close to a return.

“We’re playing really well right now,” Bogaerts said, per MLB.com's AJ Cassavell. “I want to be there. But I feel like I’m a couple of games away from meeting up with the team…I’ve waited so long already. I feel like I’m close. The tough part has been waiting.”

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San Diego Padres second baseman Xander Bogaerts (2) rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the Colorado Rockies during the second inning at Petco Park
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It hasn't been the best year for the two-time champ. Before his most recent injury, Bogaerts slashed .219/.265/.316 through 47 games. Nevertheless, there's plenty of room to bounce back, considering how the first half of the season is just about to end.

And looking at the Padres' schedule, Bogaerts is probably itching for a big performance on his first game back (if his timetable holds true). After all, it's worth mentioning that San Diego will be taking on the Braves to end their pre-All-Star break schedule. To be able to return and show out against the same opponent that one suffered an injury against — it would make for an amazing storyline.

Of course, as much as Padres fans can daydream about that scenario, only Bogaerts himself can make it happen. He did have some good games before his shoulder ordeal, so that's something to keep in mind. Still, San Diego faces a looming problem in light of their eventual reunion with the slugger: the infield lineup.

With Bogaerts sidelined, Luis Arraez has been assigned to first base while Jake Cronenworth has been playing at second. Donovan Solano has been seeing more action at third, plus there's Manny Machado and Ha-Seong Kim to consider. In other words, someone will have to sacrifice his role once Xander Bogaerts returns to the infield.

Team manager Mike Shilt surely hopes to solve the problem without repercussions, considering how the Padres have generally done well so far. The team currently holds a 49-46 record while ranking 2nd in the NL West. They're on pace for a playoff campaign, and they undoubtedly want to redeem themselves from that disappointing 2023 season.