Fernando Tatis Jr. isn’t competing in this year’s Home Run Derby, but he’s on his way to hitting at least a round’s worth of dingers in games between now and then.
Tatis went deep his first three trips to the plate Friday for the Padres against the Diamondbacks — two solo shots and a two-run homer. And he did it in the first four innings, which meant he had loads of time to tie or break the MLB record for homers in a game. The mark is four and the feat has been accomplished 18 times, most recently by J.D. Martinez in 2017.
His fourth time up, he lined a one-hop single past shortstop to lead off the seventh inning. His fifth and final time up, he grounded out to short in the eighth. San Diego won the game 11-5.
“Definitely,” he said with a laugh when asked if he was trying to go deep in those final ABs. “But, you know, we’ve got to take it simple in this game. But at least we got three.”
The homers gave the 22-year-old Tatis 25 for the season, tying him with the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for most in the majors.
“Since I was a kid, that was one on my bucket list,” Tatis said of the three-homer game in his postgame call with reporters, per MLB.com. “Gladly, today, we did that.”
Tatis said before Friday’s game that he was passing on this year’s Derby in Denver to protect his left shoulder, which popped out on a swing in April and was tweaked this month as he made a dive for a ground ball. That leaves just Shohei Ohtani and Pete Alonso as confirmed participants in the July 12 showcase event. Guerrero will not take part, either.
But rest assured that Tatis wants to be in it during his career.
“I’m 22. I feel like there’s going to be more chances for me to go to the Home Run Derby,” he told reporters, per MLB.com. “When I go over there, I want to put on a pretty good show.”