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Tatis placed on IL, 'most likely done' for '19

Rookie phenom dealing with stress reaction in back; France, Jankowski recalled
@paul_casella
August 16, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- Fernando Tatis Jr.'s stellar rookie season is "most likely done" due to a stress reaction in his back. Tatis was officially placed on the 10-day injured list prior to Friday's series opener against the Phillies after an MRI revealed the injury. He had been battling some back soreness

PHILADELPHIA -- Fernando Tatis Jr.'s stellar rookie season is "most likely done" due to a stress reaction in his back.

Tatis was officially placed on the 10-day injured list prior to Friday's series opener against the Phillies after an MRI revealed the injury. He had been battling some back soreness recently, which led to his being removed from Tuesday’s game following a sixth-inning strikeout.

"He’s most likely done for the remainder of the season," manager Andy Green said. "It’s been really tough for him over the last couple of days to kind of swallow this. For us, it’s a tough blow. For him, we’re going to take care of him."

Fellow infielder Ian Kinsler (herniated cervical disc) is also expected to miss the rest of the season after being placed on the injured list alongside Tatis. The Padres recalled infielder Ty France and outfielder Travis Jankowski from Triple-A El Paso to fill the vacated spots on the active roster.

While Green added that Tatis will be reevaluated in three weeks, the skipper emphasized that it's unlikely the Padres' superstar rookie will return to action in 2019.

"For him, we’ll take these next three weeks and give him some time to heal up," Green said. "I’m sure they’ll check him again at that point in time, but even at that point, I think in all likelihood, he’s probably done for the regular season."

It's a major blow for both the Padres and Tatis, who was in contention for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. The 20-year-old is hitting .317/.379/.590 in 84 games this season, while consistently making dazzling plays both on the basepaths and in the field.

This will be the second injured list stint this season for Tatis, who missed 34 games earlier this year with a strained left hamstring. Regardless, Green is confident that Tatis will return fully healthy in 2020 and remain a key piece of the foundation moving forward.

"It’s disappointing," Green said. "Obviously, we’re going to do what we can to take care of him as a young guy in the big leagues who we expect to be a huge part of what we do going forward."

As for San Diego's plan down the stretch, Green said he plans to give France consistent reps at second base and slide Luis Urias to shortstop. Manny Machado, who moved to shortstop during Tatis' first IL stint, is expected to remain at third base this time around.

France, the club's No. 23 prospect per MLB Pipeline, is naturally a third baseman, though he has played 15 games at second base in recent weeks. While his defense at the new position remains a work in progress, his offense hasn't skipped a beat. France hit .399 with 27 homers and a 1.247 OPS over 76 games with El Paso.

"It’s disappointing he was only hitting .399 when he got called up. I feel like we should have given him one more at-bat to see if we can get him over [.400], but he’ll have to sit on that .399 average," Green said. "He’s had a really, really impressive year in the Minor Leagues, and it warrants opportunity to see what his bat can do here at the big league level."

As for his defense, France admitted it's been an adjustment to be in constant communication with the shortstop and handle cut-off duties, but said it's "definitely gotten easier" with each game.

"It’s different," France said. "It’s made the game more fun, learning a new position. I'm still getting used to all the thinking involved with it, but so far, it’s been pretty good."

The Padres will use their final 42 games to evaluate France and his potential role for next season, when the Padres fully anticipate Tatis to pick up right where he left off.

"We expect him to make a full recovery and be a huge part of what we do going forward," Green said.

Paul Casella is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.