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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, April 30, 2017 9:30 pm

Notebook: Tatis finds challenge in batting third

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

Traditionally, a team's best hitter, or at least its top run producer, has been placed third in the batting order. For most of this season, the TinCaps have followed custom and positioned Fernando Tatis Jr. in the No. 3 spot in the lineup.

Of course, that responsibility carries its own unique set of challenges, as Tatis is finding out.

"It's pretty tough," the 18-year-old shortstop said. "I'm getting all the offspeed (pitches). They're really pitching me good."

Still, Tatis relishes seeing his name written third on the lineup card. Fort Wayne's most highly rated prospect takes a long view.

"It helps me a lot because I'm going to be a No. 3 hitter in the big leagues, so I just start working from there," Tatis said.

In Sunday's 8-5 win over South Bend, Tatis went 1 for 3 with a sacrifice fly, marking the 12th straight game he has reached base.

Coaching not in Rivas' future: John Nolan, who works in broadcasting and media relations for the TinCaps, recently asked Webster Rivas if he has thought about a post-playing career in coaching. Fort Wayne's backup catcher left the door open but said he remains focused on his role, not coaching.

"No, I don't think about that," Rivas said. "I just continue to work. I don't tire of work. When it comes to later on, maybe, but now I don't think about (the chance) to coach."

Rivas, 26, hit his first homer as a TinCap on Sunday. He feels comfortable as the elder statesman on a roster with six teenagers.

"Good people in Fort Wayne," Rivas said. "A lot of young guys. Everything's great."

Up next: The TinCaps hit the road for their first action against the Midwest League's Western Division. After a day off, they face Quad Cities on Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series. They close the trip with three at Cedar Rapids next weekend.