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Padres’ star Fernando Tatis Jr. to begin rehab assignment

San Diego Padres Photo Day

PEORIA, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 21: Fernando Tatis Jr. #84 of the San Diego Padres poses for a portrait during photo day at Peoria Stadium on February 21, 2019 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES - Star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. will begin a rehab assignment with Double-A San Antonio either Saturday or Sunday, San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin said.

Tatis took batting practice with the Padres at Dodger Stadium on Friday afternoon and then left for Texas. Tatis has been sidelined since having surgery in mid-March on his fractured left wrist, reportedly suffered in an offseason motorcycle accident in his native Dominican Republic.

Although there’s no timetable for his return, starting the rehab assignment is a big step for Tatis and the Padres.

“He didn’t have a spring and hasn’t played in the field yet, so we’ll monitor as we go along,” Melvin said.

Tatis will play shortstop, center field and spend time as the designated hitter.

When Tatis returns, he’ll be in a new-look lineup with newly acquired superstar Juan Soto, Josh Bell and Brandon Drury, all obtained before Tuesday’s trade deadline. San Diego also landed All-Star closer Josh Hader.

Tatis was an All-Star in 2021 and finished third in voting for NL MVP. He batted .282 with an NL-leading 42 home runs and 97 RBIs.