San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. progressing, set to begin rehab assignment

LOS ANGELES -- Fernando Tatis Jr. took part in his third session of live batting practice from Dodger Stadium early Friday afternoon before flying to San Antonio to join the San Diego Padres' Double-A affiliate.

He is scheduled to begin his rehab assignment with the San Antonio Missions on Saturday night, batting leadoff as the designated hitter.

Tatis, 23, has spent all season rehabbing from surgery to his left wrist but has basically reached the end of his recovery and is now focused on getting his timing back and his legs underneath him. Tatis underwent what was expected to be a final scan of the scaphoid bone that sustained a fracture early in the offseason, and Padres manager Bob Melvin said "everything looks good."

Tatis, who has displayed encouraging signs in prior hitting sessions, could be a week or two away from returning.

"I don't think we have a set amount of at-bats," Melvin said when asked about the length of Tatis' rehab assignment. "And also, you'd like to get a guy back here when he's swinging the bat pretty well too. We are later in the season; this isn't going to be a three-week process to get him back here, so we'll just take it day-to-day and see where he is physically and how he's feeling at the plate."

Tatis will eventually return to a reshaped Padres team that dominated the headlines earlier this week, acquiring Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Brandon Drury and Josh Hader before the trade deadline. Tatis will reside near the top of the lineup alongside Soto and Manny Machado, forming arguably the most devastating trio of hitters in the majors -- but he will also move around.

Tatis will see time in center field and at designated hitter during his rehab assignment, in addition to his natural position of shortstop, and will do the same when he returns to the major league team. Melvin wants the flexibility of continuing to give Ha-seong Kim starts at shortstop but also doesn't want to put too much of a burden on Tatis, given the physical demands of the position.

"This is one where he's been out long enough to where we really don't wanna get ahead of ourselves and make sure we go about it in the right fashion and that he's healthy, make sure we're not giving him too much," Melvin said.