SAN DIEGO — San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. has been recognized for a red-hot May, earning National League Player of the Month honors.
The young superstar took home the hardware despite missing eight games in the month. He homered nine times, stole eight bases and had a slash line of .353/.440/.824. As the Athletic’s Dennis Lin noted on Twitter, his teammates hit only .232/.315/.366 during that time.
The Padres were only one game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the best record in baseball as of Wednesday morning, and were a half-game back of the San Francisco Giants in the National League West, which is shaping up to be baseball’s best division.
San Diego baseball fans will finally have a chance to root on the team in a full ballpark starting June 17, when the team plans to have an Opening Day “redo” of sorts, with ceremonies before and during games celebrating the lifting of COVID-19 health protocols.
Fans will have to hope the festivities include May’s NL Player of the Month: Tatis is trying to avoid another stint on the injured list after getting hurt Tuesday night. He had only recently returned from missing time due to Major League Baseball’s coronavirus protocols.
Tatis exited San Diego’s 4-3 loss to the Cubs because of right oblique tightness. He flied out in the sixth inning and was replaced at shortstop in the bottom half.
Padres manager Jayce Tingler was encouraged after the game by Tatis’ strength and range of motion, and optimistic the star slugger will avoid the injured list.
“I think it’s too early to tell,” Tingler said. “I am optimistic maybe we caught something early before it got bad. But sometimes you wake up, things are different.”