SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Evidently Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Padres are bringing Slam Diego back for a sequel in 2021.
Tatis, fresh off signing a record-setting contract extension last month, unloaded on a first-pitch fastball from D-backs veteran Caleb Smith in the second inning of the Padres’ 7-2 victory on Tuesday, sending it 441 feet to the left-field berm at Salt River Fields.
“Hit it about as clean as you can hit a ball,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. “That was really, really good to see.”
The Padres’ star shortstop took three steps toward first base before unleashing a subtle-but-authoritative bat flip to mark his first home run in the Cactus League this spring. Fittingly, too, it was a grand slam.
Tatis, of course, made headlines last year for swinging at a 3-0 pitch with a seven-run lead in Texas and authoring his first career grand slam. It sparked plenty of controversy within the sport when the Rangers made it clear they weren’t pleased that Tatis was swinging away.
It also gave birth to an unprecedented run of grand slams in San Diego. The Padres launched one apiece in each of their next three games, becoming the first team in baseball history to hit a grand slam in four consecutive games.
“Slam Diego” was born — and apparently it’s back for a second season.
Tatis’ slam, which left his bat at 114 mph, was the second hit of the afternoon…