Tatis has wrist surgery; timeline remains 3 months

March 16th, 2022

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Fernando Tatis Jr. underwent surgery to repair his broken left wrist on Wednesday morning, solidifying a three-month recovery timetable for the Padres' superstar shortstop.

Tatis likely fractured his scaphoid bone early in the offseason, doctors said, an injury that perhaps relates to a December motorcycle accident. But details around the injury are murky, as Tatis did not begin to feel the effects of the fracture until he began ramping up for the start of the season about a month ago.

When he arrived at Padres camp over the weekend, Tatis had an X-ray on the wrist that revealed the break. Padres president of baseball operations A.J. Preller estimated a three-month recovery period that would put Tatis' return around mid-June.

"He's obviously a great player, it's fun to have him on the field," Preller said. "He's one of the best players in the league. But we have a talented team. We have a deep roster. It'll be an opportunity for other guys to step up."

In Tatis' absence, the Padres plan to give Ha-Seong Kim the bulk of the reps at shortstop, and he's penciled in as their Opening Day starter. An excellent defender, Kim has question marks surrounding his bat after a debut season that saw him hit .202/.270/.352.

The Padres are optimistic about the strides Kim has made adjusting to velocity from year one to year two -- a focal point during the offseason. But if the offensive struggles persist, Jake Cronenworth could slide from second to short on occasion. Or, perhaps the most intriguing option, top Padres prospect CJ Abrams could earn his big league breakthrough if he performs this spring.

Regardless of the team's shortstop predicament, Tatis' absence only serves to reinforce the Padres' need to add to their middling offense. They're actively scouring the market for corner-outfield/DH types -- and could add more than one to help fortify the middle of their order.

In Tatis' absence, Padres players have resolved to dig deep to make up for his lost production, and third baseman Manny Machado reinforced that notion on Wednesday morning.

"When he does put on that uniform, we're going to be in a good situation, in a good place to welcome him," Machado said. "You don't win a championship in the first three months of the season. You could put yourself in a really good position. ... That's what we're going to try to do."