It appears the Padres avoided serious injury with superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., with manager Jayce Tingler praising him for his maturity.
Fernando Tatis Jr. fielded a routine groundball deep in the hole at shortstop off the bat of Reds’ infielder Jonathan India in the third inning of Tuesday’s game. The Padres superstar recorded the out, but smiles quickly turned to frowns as Tatis slowly walked towards first base with his hands on his hips. Several players and the trainers surrounded him, and Tatis eventually left the game under his own power.
The Padres 5-4 exhibition win felt like an afterthought while the Friar Faithful waited for word on Tatis’ status. After the game, the 22-year-old was seen walking normally around the clubhouse, as news reported that Tatis had aggravated his shoulder fielding the ball.
“That what he said, where he felt it, was during that reach coming across right there,” manager Jayce Tingler said on Wednesday morning. “I don’t know if it was a little bit of a stinger or what the deal was.”
The shoulder injury is nothing new, as Tatis has been dealing with it off and on since his days in the minor leagues. However, compounded with his back injury that limited his rookie season to just 84 games and Tatis recently signing a 14-year contract extension, the Padres superstar’s long-term health was in question.
Tatis played in all but one game of the shortened 60-game slate last season, finishing fourth in the National League MVP voting while posting a .277/.366/.571 slash line with 17 home runs and 45 RBI’s.
With just over a week until Opening Day, the young shortstop knew the significance of his injury, no matter how serious.
“This time of the year, it’s just something that we just got to be aware of. I’m proud of the fact that he said something,” Tingler said of Tatis. “Realistically, if we’re in season, he probably doesn’t say anything. Right now, he’s being very mature, very responsible. He understands the timeline of where we’re at.”
On Wednesday night, Dinelson Lamet made his first spring training start. The Padres are hopeful they can have him in their starting rotation for the majority of the season after an injury prematurely ended his 2020 season.
The Padres have sustained several key injuries in the spring exhibitions, with notable names in the bullpen working their way towards being ready for the season opener against the Diamondbacks on April 1. Given the injury scare, Tatis does not need to play in another game this spring; however, try telling that to the guy who played winter ball.
“He was feeling really good today,” Tingler added. “In fact, he was lobbying to get into the lineup today. I thought that was very encouraging.”