The reason for the shortfall in playing time was three separate stints on the injured list due to a left shoulder injury. He suffered a left shoulder subluxation in April, May and late July. Once he returned from his third absence, the Padres moved him from shortstop to right field in order to protect the shoulder.
Tatis grimacing in pain on the field was a disheartening scene we almost grew numb to seeing. Here was the third time:
Many assumed Tatis was just gutting out the rest of the season before having surgery to repair something (the labrum, likely) in his non-throwing shoulder so he could then have the offseason to rehab.
Instead, this happened on Friday when new manager Bob Melvin discussed Tatis with Jim Bowden.
Tatis didn't have any issues with his shoulder after returning to the field on Aug. 15 and he hasn't played in a game since Oct. 3. It's entirely possible to rehab muscle injuries over the course of time, so it appears maybe Tatis has been working the muscle groups around his left shoulder this offseason and both he and the team feel very comfortable with where he is right now in his progress.
It's easy these days to take our excellent medical technology for granted, but if a player doesn't require surgery, there's very little reason to force him under the knife against his will.
Tatis just finished his first full season at the majors at age 22. He hit .282/.364/.611 with 31 doubles, 42 homers, 97 RBI, 99 runs, 25 steals and 6.6 WAR. At worst we know he's a top-three finisher in NL MVP voting.
There will be some people, from afar, who believe it's a mistake for Tatis to not have surgery, but he surely knows his body and he's working with doctors who are examining him. In trusting them, it would appear the most likely scenario for Tatis is another big season in 2022. Hopefully it's without shoulder injuries this time around.