Padres fans breath a sigh of relief after Fernando Tatis Jr. injury
By Jake Misener
Aaaaaaaaand exhale. One day after watching franchise icon Fernando Tatis Jr. walk off the field after suffering an apparent shoulder injury, Padres fans can breathe a sigh of relief.
Early reports on Wednesday all came back positive on the San Diego shortstop, who’s battling what appears to be a longstanding left shoulder issue he’s battled off and on over the years. According to manager Jayce Tingler, Tatis Jr. was looking to get back in the starting lineup – but the team is playing it safe with him.
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"“Right now, he’s being very mature, very responsible, understands the timeline of where we’re at,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler told MLB.com. “I think it’s good for him to say something right now.”"
With Opening Day just one week away, there’s no reason to roll the dice with Tatis Jr. He reportedly tweaked the shoulder sliding into home plate last month and also missed time battling a flu-like illness. With this shoulder tweak, it makes sense to take it nice and easy as Cactus League action winds down.
Coming off a fourth-place finish in NL MVP voting and fresh on the heels of a record 14-year, $340 million contract extension, expectations for Tatis Jr. this year couldn’t be much higher. Expected to deliver the Padres their first World Series championship in franchise history, the young superstar will need to be at 100 percent to get it done.
Padres: Depth behind Fernando Tatis Jr. could be critical
While it looks like San Diego avoided the devastating news that haunted everyone watching Tuesday’s contest, the scare definitely highlighted the importance of the team’s middle infield depth heading into the season.
We’ve talked ad nauseam about the team’s second base situation, with the likes of Jurickson Profar, Jake Cronenworth and Ha-Seong Kim all battling for reps at the position. We’ve pretty much glossed over shortstop position given Tatis Jr.’s youth – but it’s definitely worth taking a look at things now.
Cronenworth is the next man up on the Padres’ depth chart behind Tatis Jr. That would leave either Profar or Kim handling duties at second, something both are more than capable of doing. Still, a lineup without El Niño is one severely weakened. And, while the Friars love his all-out enthusiasm, keeping him healthy and on the field is critical to this team’s success.