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Tatis to begin rehab assignment this weekend

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Fernando Tatis Jr. is one step closer to returning.

San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin announced his superstar has finally been cleared for game action and will begin a rehab assignment at Double-A San Antonio this weekend, according to Dennis Lin of The Athletic.

Tatis took live batting practice at Dodger Stadium earlier Friday. He left the team shortly after to join the Missions in San Antonio. It's not yet clear how long of a rehab stint Tatis will need before he can return to the majors.

"We're gonna take that day-to-day," Melvin said when asked for a timetable, according to 97.3 The Fan. "(He) didn't have a spring, hasn't played in the field yet, so we'll monitor him as we go along."

Tatis will spend time during his assignment playing shortstop and center field as well as designated hitter. A natural shortstop, Tatis made his first foray into the outfield late last season, playing 20 games in right field and another seven in center.

The 23-year-old, who hit a National League-leading 42 homers last season, hasn't played in 2022 after fracturing his left wrist in the offseason. He was only recently cleared to begin swinging the bat; Friday marked just his third live BP session.

Once he does return to the Padres, Tatis will add even more thump to a formidable lineup that now boasts star deadline acquisitions Juan Soto and Josh Bell alongside MVP candidate Manny Machado.

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