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Fernando Tatis Jr. hopes to stay hot as Padres face Brewers

After a 4-for-5 performance that included a 446-foot homer during San Diego’s 7-6 win over the visiting Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday, it’s easy to forget that Padres right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. has been playing with a right quad injury since April.

However, Tatis figures to remain in the lineup Friday night when San Diego and Milwaukee get together for the second game of a four-game series.

“I’m just not at my best,” Tatis said. “I’m not stealing bases and I’m not running the way I know I can run. I’m a little bit banged up right now, but we’re going to keep fighting to see how we can find a way to stay on the field.”

The only sign Thursday that the injury was affecting Tatis was when he raced around third to score on Jurickson Profar’s seventh-inning double. Tatis’ limp became a little more noticeable, but he was able to finish the game.

“It’s really deep in my quad, right next to the bone,” Tatis said. “The medical staff and myself have been trying to figure out what it is. We’re doing some stuff that can help it, but (I’m) still not all the way back.”

Despite the injury, Tatis is putting up solid numbers. He enters the Friday night game batting .280 with 14 homers and 36 RBIs. Earlier this year, he enjoyed a career-high, 17-game hitting streak.

While Tatis hopes for better health, teammate Dylan Cease (6-6, 3.95 ERA) aims for better results. The right-hander was hit hard during an 11-6 road loss against the New York Mets on Sunday. He allowed seven hits and seven runs in 3 2/3 innings with three walks and five strikeouts.

Cease is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in two career starts against the Brewers. He won at Milwaukee on April 16 after firing six innings and yielding one run on two hits and five walks with seven strikeouts.

The Brewers will counter with Colin Rea (6-2, 3.29 ERA), who is enjoying the best year of his injury-filled major league career that started with the Padres in 2015.

In his latest start, Rea earned a win in the Brewers’ 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. He allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk, striking out six, in six innings. He pitched to a no-decision in his only career outing against San Diego, permitting just two hits and a run in 5 2/3 innings on April 13, 2023.

Milwaukee is hoping for some length from Rea after getting just 4 2/3 innings Thursday night from Bryse Wilson. The Brewers’ bullpen, which has been taxed lately, will get some help with the likely activation of veteran right-hander Jakob Junis (shoulder impingement) off the injured list before the Friday game.

Brewers manager Pat Murphy said of Junis, who has filled multiple roles during his career, “He’ll start in the ‘pen. If we started him on the front end, it would be for a couple of innings. If he comes out of his first few outings feeling great, we might stretch it a little bit.

“We need innings, obviously.”

–Field Level Media

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