Fernando Tatis Jr. was in and out of the lineup during spring training, suffered a shoulder subluxation five games into the regular season and still didn't look right when he returned 10 days later. But San Diego Padres manager Jayce Tingler began to notice hints of the real Tatis -- the 22-year-old superstar who's quickly evolving into the face of his sport -- as the second series against the Los Angeles Dodgers approached. He saw a shorter swing, a more disciplined approach and an ability to track pitches deep into the strike zone, all signs that Tatis might be poised for a breakout.
On Friday night, in the fifth of seven games against the rival Dodgers in a stretch of 10 days, Tatis finally broke out in a way that was noticeable to everyone. He blasted two home runs off three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium -- on the 22nd anniversary of his father, Fernando Tatis, famously hitting two grand slams in the same inning at Dodger Stadium.
"It's crazy to think about," Tingler said after the Padres' 6-1 win. "I don't even know how to explain it. Just more reassurance that there's a higher being."