Tatis returns from shoulder scare with bang

Caratini avoids injury; Pomeranz on the mend

March 26th, 2021

That didn't take very long: Two days after 's alarming midgame exit with left shoulder discomfort, the Padres’ star shortstop returned to the lineup on Thursday against Texas.

And, as you’d probably expect, he stole the show.

Batting second and serving as the designated hitter, Tatis launched a go-ahead three-run home run to the opposite field in the bottom of the sixth inning of the Padres' 11-10 victory over the Rangers. It was his third home run of the spring.

Crisis averted. When Tatis exited Tuesday's game against the Reds, it caused something of a small panic in San Diego. He made a backhand play in the hole at shortstop, and after an awkward throw across the diamond, Tatis practically walked straight off the field, accompanied by a team trainer.

But the left shoulder discomfort Tatis experienced is something he's dealt with in the past, manager Jayce Tingler said. Tatis told Padres staff that during the regular season he would've played through it. But in an exhibition game in March, there was no need to take any chances.

“He’s being very mature, very responsible, understands the timeline of where we’re at,” Tingler said on Wednesday.

It's been a stop-and-start spring for Tatis, who also missed two short stints earlier this month -- first with a non-COVID illness, then after feeling the effects of a hard headfirst slide into home plate.

But when he's been on the field, he's been every bit the dazzling superstar that the Padres locked up for 14 years and $340 million in February.

Tatis is hitting .385 with a 1.179 OPS and three home runs this spring.

In fact, a homer against Texas might just be the surest sign that Tatis is back to normal. He went deep three times in four games against the Rangers last season -- including his 3-0 grand slam heard ‘round the world last August.

Caratini OK after nervy moment
When Darvish exited his start after three innings on Thursday night, so did catcher Victor Caratini.

Tingler said that was always part of the plan -- Caratini has served as Darvish's personal catcher dating back to their time with the Cubs. But the Padres were still left worrying about Caratini a bit after he took a foul ball off his throwing hand in the third inning.

They got good news a few innings later as Caratini passed all tests and did not sustain any injury. The Padres can ill afford to lose Caratini. They're already without starting catcher Austin Nola, who is a question mark for Opening Day as he works his way back from a fractured left middle finger.

Pomeranz's return scheduled
Left-hander Drew Pomeranz is slated to pitch Friday against the Mariners after completing another successful bullpen session on Wednesday night.

Pomeranz hasn't pitched since March 9 after experiencing left forearm tightness during a bullpen session. But the Padres are optimistic that if all goes well in Pomeranz's return to the mound, he'll be ready by Opening Day.

A healthy Pomeranz would be a huge boost to a Padres bullpen that has been beset by injuries. José Castillo (Tommy John surgery), Matt Strahm (right knee surgery) and Javy Guerra (right UCL sprain) won't be available, while Pierce Johnson (groin strain) and Austin Adams (elbow injury) remain question marks.