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The Padres placed star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. on the injured list due to health and safety protocols, the team announced on Tuesday afternoon. Utility men Jurickson Profar and Jorge Mateo also landed on the IL.
Manager Jayce Tingler announced that Tatis Jr. had tested positive for COVID-19 and he is not experiencing any symptoms. Profar and Mateo were both close contacts.
“Naturally, you’re punched in the stomach a little bit,” Tingler said. “First of all, you want to make sure for Tatis in this situation, is he feeling OK? It was good to see him over FaceTime, and he’s feeling well. But you know he’s crushed inside, mentally.”
The Padres called up right-hander Nabil Crismatt, outfielder John Andreoli and utility man Tucupita Marcano to fill the three vacant roster spots.
Tatis was off to a bit of a slow start to the season, hitting just .240, but his seven steals are tied for the NL lead and his nine homers are one shy.
No timetable has been offered for Tatis’ return -- or the returns of Profar and Mateo, utility players who had filled key roles on San Diego's bench.
If Tatis were to miss extended time, the workload at shortstop would almost certainly fall to Ha-Seong Kim, as it did when Tatis missed 10 days earlier this season because of a partially dislocated left shoulder. Kim has been solid defensively, but he has struggled at the plate upon his transition to the big leagues from the KBO this season. In 27 games, Kim is hitting .190.
Of course, it’s nearly impossible for anyone to replace the kind of production Tatis offers. In 169 career games, Tatis owns a .292/.365/.578 slash line, with 48 homers and 34 steals. Earlier this month, he became the first player in MLB history to record 40 homers and 30 steals in the first 162 games of his career.