Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres runs to first base during a game against the Colorado Rockies at PETCO Park on September 20, 2023 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network
San Diego Padres right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. will play 20 games for the Estrellas Orientales during the 2023-24 Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana season, ESPN Deportes reported.
His father, Fernando Tatis, a former Major League Baseball player with the Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals, Montreal Expos, Baltimore Orioles, and New York Mets, is the manager of the Estrellas Orientales. At a recent Estrellas Orientales press conference, Tatis expressed that his son is eager to play in the Dominican Republic.
“From early on, the first thing he told me when he started playing in the major leagues was, ‘Dad, this year we are going to look for another crown for San Pedro de Macoris,” the elder Tatis said.
Although the San Diego Padres have approved Tatis Jr. to play in 20 games, Estrellas’ general manager Manny Garcia is expected to ask permission for the two-time Silver Slugger to appear in additional contests.
“We are guaranteed 20 games, of which I know that our general manager is going to press the keys to see if they give us 10 or 20 more,” Tatis Sr. told ESPN Deportes. “Everything depends, but this boy will be there; he is hungry to play and to come to San Pedro de Macoris and really to do his bit with our team.”
This season will be Fernando Tatis Jr.’s third stint with the Estrellas Orientales after appearing in 17 games with the team during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana seasons. He hit .246 with one home run in 2017-18 and .263 with three home runs in 2018-19. Estrellas de Oriente defeated Toros del Este in the LIDOM Championship in 2018-19.
As for his Major League Baseball career with the San Diego Padres, Tatis Jr. has been one of the better players in the league when he is not injured or suspended. He was suspended 80 games in 2022 for testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug clostebol.
“It turns out that I inadvertently took medication to treat a ringworm that contained Clostebol,” Tatis Jr. told reporters after learning of his suspension. “I should have used the resources available to me to ensure that no banned substances were in what I took. I failed to do so.”
On the diamond, the 24-year-old has been impressive at the plate and is an improved fielder since moving from shortstop to right field. Tatis Jr. hit .317 with a .969 OPS during his 2019 rookie season with San Diego. He had 22 home runs and 53 RBI in just 84 games. However, he made 18 errors at shortstop.
The Padres kept him at shortstop in 2020 and 2021, but he has since switched to right field. He finished second in all of MLB in defensive runs saved in 2023 with 27, behind only Daulton Varsho of the Toronto Blue Jays, who finished with 29.
In 141 games in 2023, Tatis Jr. hit .257 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI. The Padres missed the postseason for the second consecutive season.
Estrellas Orientales will play their first game of the Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana season on Thursday, October 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET against the Toros del Este. The contest will occur at Estadio Francisco Micheli in La Romana, Dominican Republic.