Update on Fernando Tatis Jr.'s recovery is fantastic news for Padres

San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres / Denis Poroy/GettyImages

It's incredible to think the San Diego Padres were three wins shy of a World Series appearance last season without face of the franchise Fernando Tatis Jr. The fact they upset the Dodgers along the way with Tatis suspended just speaks to the fact that this roster, as presently constructed, is ready to reach the mountain top.

Following the addition of Xander Bogaerts, the Padres have maybe the deepest lineup in baseball, albeit one that will be without Tatis for the first 32 games of 2023 following his 80-game suspension for violating MLB's performance-enhancing drug policy.

That news came when Tatis was nearing a return from wrist surgery; an injury that occurred due to a motorcycle accident. That misstep hurt Tatis' standing around the league, and the PED suspension represented a snowball effect in that regard.

After the suspension effectively ended his season in August, the All-Star shortstop underwent a second wrist procedure in October. That operation came after Tatis went under the knife just a month earlier to repair his shoulder injury.

Following a trio of surgeries, Tatis spent most of the last several months rehabbing. That hard work is paying off, it would seem, as The Athletic's Dennis Lin reported that the newly-turned 24-year-old has been cleared to resume baseball activities.

Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. cleared to resume baseball activities.

This is incredible news for the Padres.

While Tatis isn't eligible to play until April 20, the fact he'll be ready for spring training is a huge win given he's rehabbing from multiple surgeries, including repairing a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder. Though he'll be banned once the season starts, Tatis is eligible to partake in spring training games during his suspension, meaning he'll hit against big-league pitching in Cactus League play for multiple weeks.

That'll be followed by another month-long layoff, but at least he'll go into the campaign with a recent sample size of experience facing upper level pitching. Remember, Tatis' last game for the Padres came against the Giants on Oct. 3, 2021.

In a testament to the fan base, the Padres faithful have stood by Tatis amid his adversity-plagued 2022. The fact he's must-see television and put San Diego back on the national map might have something to do with that.

In his first three seasons, Tatis hit .292/.369/.596 with 81 home runs, 195 RBI, 52 stolen bases, and 13.6 wins above replacement, earning a pair of Silver Slugger awards in the process. After three exemplary seasons, the Padres rewarded him in the form of a $340 million extension that still ranks as the fifth-largest in MLB history even after all the gargantuan contracts that've been signed this winter.

Despite the unwavering support from fans, Tatis has a lot to prove in terms of earning back the trust of the franchise. The easiest way to do that is to produce like he did in his first three years and avoid future off-field mishaps.

This update will certainly help with the first part.

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