The 2022 season for Padres star Fernando Tatis, Jr. was a disaster. He entered the season with a broken wrist and had several setbacks in his attempts to return. He was then suspended for a failed PED test and had to watch his team get to the NLCS without him. In the offseason, he had surgery to repair a shoulder injury that had cost him 30+ games in his All-Star 2021 season.
Due to the remaining games on his suspension, Tatis can’t return until April 20 at the earliest, but it sounds like it’ll be all systems go in spring training leading up to his return.
On the shoulder surgery, via San Diego Union-Tribune:
“I’m glad I got it. It feels way better. (I am) way confident. I feel like I’m gonna have my swing 100 percent back this year.”
On the wrist:
“It feels good. I feel way more confident (compared) to last time. I feel like this time they got it right. … It didn’t get healed right the other time. It was like 25 percent. This time, the last time we checked it was 90 percent healed. So it’s way better.”
When Tatis is fully healthy, he’s one of the most electrifying players in baseball. In his 130 games in 2021, he hit .282/.364/.611 (166 OPS+) with 31 doubles, 42 home runs, 97 RBI, 99 runs, 25 stolen bases and 6.6 WAR. He was a human highlight reel and finished third in MVP voting despite all those missed games.
Without him in 2022, the Padres went 89-73 and advanced to the NLCS after toppling the 101-win Mets in the Wild Card round and then the 111-win Dodgers in the NLDS. During the course of the season, the Padres traded for young superstar Juan Soto.
In the offseason, the Padres added free agent shortstop Xander Bogaerts. With Ha-Seong Kim set to move back to second base and Bogaerts at short next to superstar third baseman Manny Machado, Tatis will shift off his customary spot at shortstop. Most believe it’ll be somewhere in the outfield.
Regardless, the Padres’ lineup will feature one of the best 1-4 groups in the majors with Tatis, Soto, Machado and Bogaerts, as it sounds like they’ll finally have a fully healthy Tatis.