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Fernando Tatis Jr. Takes Big Step In His Recovery

Fernando Tatis Jr. smiles after hitting a home run.

Yet to play this season, Fernando Tatis Jr. could be inching closer to his return.

According to MLB.com's AJ Cassavell, the San Diego Padres shortstop said he felt good following live at-bats Monday. He could start a minor-league rehab assignment shortly.

A fractured wrist has sidelined Tatis throughout the year. The Padres initially expected him to miss up to three months when he underwent surgery in mid-March.

It would be a major boon to welcome back the 23-year-old star this summer. Tatis is batting .292/.369/.596 early in his brilliant career. He tallied 42 home runs, 25 stolen bases, and the highest WAR of any position player (per FanGraphs) in 130 games last season.

San Diego has nevertheless held its own without Tatis. Although the Friars trail the Dodgers by 12 games in the NL West, they currently possess the second of three wild-card spots at 57-46.

The Padres made a splash Monday by acquiring star relief pitcher Josh Hader from the Milwaukee Brewers. They might not be done; they're often linked to Washington Nationals superstar Juan Soto.

Even if they don't land Soto, the Padres could significantly bolster their lineup if Tatis returns later this month.