Padres notes: Tommy Pham expected to play left field soon; Fernando Tatis Jr. gaining strength – The San Diego Union-Tribune

There can be an exhale regarding one of the most important pieces to the Padres plan for success in 2020.

It appears Tommy Pham will meet the goal the Padres had all along of him playing left field by mid-March, as manager Jayce Tingler said Pham is on the verge of doing just that.

We expect him to get in a game defensively, if its not coming off (Tuesdays) off day, it could be before that, Tingler said Friday. I think in the next couple days we feel confident to get him out there.

Pham, acquired in a December trade that sent Hunter Renfroe to Tampa Bay, played the final couple months of 2019 with a partially torn UCL in his right (throwing) elbow. He underwent treatment, including stem cell and platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) injections over the offseason. He was not cleared to swing a bat until mid-December and didnt start throwing until spring training.

On Friday, Pham played catch for a third straight day. He moved up to 150 feet, which is 25 feet beyond where he was at the start of the week and 50 feet from the target distance for him to be cleared to play in left field.

Big day, said Pham, who has regularly taken part in outfield drills without throwing.

Pham was one of five major league players to hit at least 21 home runs and steal at least 25 bases in 2019. He is one of just four players in the majors to have at least a .850 OPS and 65 stolen bases since 2017.

Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. could practice full Sunday and play in a game as soon as Monday following a bout with the flu that kept him away from the teams complex for four days this week.

Tatis, who has not played in a game since Feb. 28, did some limited work (throwing and in the cage) for a second day Friday.

You never want see somebody get sick, Tingler said. If youre going to get sick, three weeks left in camp would be more ideal than with four or five days to go.

Opening day is March 26.

Greg Garcia is back to doing what he did so well for the Padres last season, his first in his hometown.

He is hitting right-handers regularly. He has four hits in his past six at-bats against righties and is 5-for-10 against them this spring, including his two-run homer Thursday.

But where the Valhalla High grad made 73 of his 74 starts against right-handed pitchers, spring training lineups are not filled out with opposing pitchers in mind. Garcias first three at-bats this spring were against lefties, against which he is a career .186 hitters (.293 OBP) compared to the .258 (.369) he hits against righties.

Its fun, Garcia said. Its just getting at-bats, trying to figure out the strike zone again. Thats what I take away from it. Im just trying to take good at-bats.

Garcia, who is battling for a roster spot as a utility infielder and part-time starter at second base, is 1-for-6 against lefties this spring.

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Padres notes: Tommy Pham expected to play left field soon; Fernando Tatis Jr. gaining strength – The San Diego Union-Tribune