San Diego Padres star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. left Monday night's home game against the San Francisco Giants (SF 3, SD 2) with what was later announced as a left shoulder injury. On Tuesday, GM A.J. Preller confirmed Tatis has "slight" tearing in his labrum, but there is no damage to his rotator cuff and he does not require surgery.
"It's just being safe and giving the left shoulder inflammation and some of the instability a chance to calm down," Preller told reporters, adding Tatis has full range of motion. "... Overall, the exam today was pretty uneventful."
Preller said the team's doctors do not believe Tatis can make the injury worse by playing, though the Padres will place him on the 10-day injured list "to be safe."
Tatis went down in obvious pain in the third inning after swinging and missing on an Anthony DeSclafani breaking ball. He stayed down for several seconds while being attended to by the team trainer and then walked off the field while clutching his left arm. He would not return and would be replaced defensively by Ha-seong Kim at short for the top of the fourth inning.
Here's a look at the injury:
The injury is to Tatis' left shoulder, his non-throwing shoulder. As a right-handed hitter, the injury is to his front shoulder, and the front shoulder is the power shoulder. It is not uncommon for front shoulder injuries to sap a player's power, even after he's declared healthy. It can take some time to regain full strength in that shoulder.
Former Marlins president David Samson broke down the injury on the latest episode of Nothing Personal with David Samson. Listen below:
Tatis does have a history of left shoulder problems, including exiting a spring training game with discomfort a few weeks ago. San Diego is obviously aware of that history, and they're comfortable enough with his long-term outlook to sign him to a 14-year contract worth $341 million this past offseason.
The 22-year-old Tatis is coming off a stellar 2020 campaign in which he finished fourth in the NL MVP balloting. This season, he's off to a slow start with a slash line of .167/.286/.333 and one home run in five games. To state the obvious, the loss of Tatis for any significant length of time would be a serious blow to the Padres, who hope to compete with the world champion Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.