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San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. (shoulder) on verge of return

Jul 30, 2021; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (center) is helped off the field by manager Jayce Tingler (left) and a trainer after an injury during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 30, 2021; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (center) is helped off the field by manager Jayce Tingler (left) and a trainer after an injury during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. could return from the injured list as soon Sunday after making progress in his recovery from a dislocated left shoulder injury.

With the Padres in Phoenix to play the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, Tatis worked out at the club’s spring-training complex in nearby Peoria and experienced a good workout. He took six at-bats at the plate and did a heavy workload of baseball activities.

Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Tatis would likely return within 48 hours.

“He feels that he is really close, and he feels that he is ready to go,” Tingler told reporters prior to Saturday’s game against the Diamondbacks. “As far as he has progressed with some of the drills and the baseball activity things, it’s probably gone a little bit quicker than maybe what was expected. We need to regroup there with the trainers medically and get their thoughts on some things.”

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Tatis has dislocated the shoulder four times this season and the club is trying to get him through the rest of the season before a probable offseason surgical solution is necessary.

That means the first-time All-Star may not return as the everyday shortstop. Tatis has been working in the outfield but the team hasn’t yet revealed a formal game plan per how it will use him.

“As far as the factors, the health is going to be the main component, and that’s going to be first and foremost,” Tingler said. “We want to do the best we can at taking some of the risk out.

“I think he is going to be capable of playing shortstop and moving around the outfield a little bit. That may not be right off the bat as he gets back into playing, but I do think that’s something that can evolve with time and grow.”

Despite last playing on July 30, Tatis leads the National League with 31 homers and 23 steals. He is batting .292 with 70 RBIs in 87 games.

The Padres certainly could use Tatis as they have fallen out of the NL West race. They trailed the first-place San Francisco Giants by 10 games and the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers by five games entering Saturday.

San Diego entered the day 2 1/2 games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds for the NL’s second wild card.

–Field Level Media