Fernando Tatis Jr. injury: Padres star out up to three months with fractured wrist, may need surgery

Fernando Tatis Jr. injury: Padres star out up to three months with fractured wrist, may need surgery

San Diego Padres superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. suffered a fractured wrist at some point during the offseason and could be out up to three months, GM AJ Preller told reporters on Monday, including The Athletic’s Dennis Lin. Surgery may be required. The three-month timeline would put Tatis on track to return in the middle of June.

“Nothing crazy, I thought it was something we could work through,” Tatis told reporters, including MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell, about the injury. He said it first popped up about a month ago, though it may date back to his December motorcycle accident. Tatis clarified the decision whether to have surgery has not been made yet.

Players and teams were not allowed to communicate during the lockout, so clubs were not alerted to any injuries suffered during the offseason until the work stoppage ended. This will be the third time in three 162-game seasons he has missed time with injuries. In 2019 and 2021, back and shoulder trouble sidelined him.

Tatis, 23, has finished in the top four of NL MVP voting each of the last two seasons. He hit .282/.364/.611 with 42 home runs in 130 games last year and has cemented himself as one of the productive players in the game when he’s actually on the field. In his three MLB seasons, Tatis has played 273 of 384 possible regular season games, or 71 percent.

The injury is devastating news for a Padres team looking to rebound from a tremendously disappointing 2021. San Diego went into last season as a World Series contender and instead went 79-83. They lost 34 of their final 46 games. Manager Jayce Tingler was let go after the season and the Padres hired Bob Melvin away from the Athletics to replace him.

Here’s what Sportsline has to say about the impact of losing Tatis for potentially close to half the season:

with Tatis

88.8

66.2%

5.1%

1.1%

without Tatis

86.1

53.8%

2.9%

0.5%

Exchange

-2.7

-12.4%

-2.2%

-0.6%

“It’s terrible. I feel like everybody’s disappointed, especially me,” Tatis told Cassavell. “I feel like we have a pretty good chance this year as a team, and I just want to be out there for my teammates.”

San Diego traded second baseman Adam Frazier to the Mariners prior to the lockout, thinning the club’s middle infield depth. Melvin’s regular lineup figures to look something like this while Tatis is on the mend:

  1. CF Trent Grisham
  2. 2B Jake Cronenworth
  3. 3B Manny Machado
  4. 1B Eric Hosmer
  5. RF Wil Myers
  6. C Austin Nola
  7. LF Jurickson Profar
  8. DH Nomar Mazara
  9. SS Ha Seong Kim

The Padres pursued Nelson Cruz prior to his deal with the Nationals and they figure to remain in the market for a big bat. A short-term deal with an outfielder makes the most sense. Jorge Soler, Andrew McCutchen, and Joc Pederson are potential targets. They could look into a reunion with Tommy Pham as well, or pursue Japanese slugger Seiya Suzuki.

Journeyman and non-roster invitee Domingo Leyba now has the inside track on the team’s utility infielder job, so the Padres could look to upgrade their bench before Opening Day as well. San Diego was a middle-of-the road offensive team last season and they’re one more injury away from looking really thin in the lineup.

Tatis has been nothing short of brilliant when he’s on the field. He just isn’t on the field as often as the Padres would like. Tatis is entering the second year of the record 14-year, $340 million contract he signed last spring.