The Los Angeles Dodgers are sending out their big three this weekend: Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer. The San Diego Padres are countering with the return of slugging superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.
San Diego officially activated their young infielder off the 10-day IL ahead of Friday’s series opener against the NL West-leading Dodgers, adding one of the game’s most dynamic talents into the mix far ahead of when many expected him back.
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In early April, Tatis Jr. took a vicious swing and dislocated his shoulder in the process. At the time, we honestly didn’t know if he’d be back again this season – let alone when his initial stint on the IL came to a close.
Padres need a healthy Tatis Jr.
The day after the injury, Padres president of baseball operations AJ Preller offered this assessment on Tatis Jr. Thankfully, it looks like – at least for now – surgery won’t be necessary in order to get him back on the diamond.
"“This is not something that we feel like long term we’re putting him at risk if he goes out there and continues playing this season,” Preller said. “There’s always the chance that he can have another episode, another incident, where there’s another subluxation, and at that point in time, we’ll evaluate from there. But this is not a situation where our doctors — knowing the player, seeing him, examining him, looking at the images — feel like we’re putting him in an issue to have any kind of long-term, more damage or anything like that if he goes out there and plays.”"
Since Tatis Jr. hit the shelf, San Diego ran off a mixed bag of performances. Of course, Joe Musgrove through the first no-hitter in franchise history – but the Padres mustered just a 6-4 record during that span.
The Friars boast the fifth-highest OPS in baseball entering action Friday at Petco Park – and adding Tatis Jr. back into the mix will only help drive this team. The NL West is expected to come down to the wire this season – so while it might seem like a three-game series in mid-April, who knows what it’ll mean at the end of the day.