Tatis was placed on the injured list prior to San Diego’s 8-1 victory over the Rockies at Coors Field on Tuesday night, and Myers was removed from that game in the top of the third inning after the Padres had been notified of his positive test. Both players are asymptomatic and feeling OK, Tingler said.
Utility men Jurickson Profar and Jorge Mateo also landed on the IL, though Tingler said those moves were purely the result of MLB’s contact tracing protocols and neither has tested positive. The same holds true for first baseman Eric Hosmer, who exited Tuesday's game in the seventh inning because of those protocols. Hosmer is expected to land on the IL on Wednesday.
The Padres are scheduled to play a doubleheader against the Rockies on Wednesday before returning to San Diego for an off-day Thursday. Tingler said that as of Tuesday’s game, he had no reason to believe any other players would need to enter the league’s contact tracing protocols, while acknowledging the evolving nature of the situation.
“I don’t anticipate it,” Tingler said. “But … I didn’t anticipate having to pull guys during the game. I don’t anticipate it, but I understand these things happen right now.”
Tatis, Myers, Hosmer, Profar and Mateo represent five of the 12 position players on the Padres’ roster entering play Tuesday -- and against right-handed pitching, generally speaking, four of their eight starting position players.
Players placed on the injured list for COVID-19-related reasons who have not tested positive are not required to stay there for a minimum of 10 days and can be activated sooner, once they’ve received multiple negative tests and passed a series of MLB protocols. That leaves open the possibility for Hosmer, Profar and Mateo to return sooner than the typical 10-day stint would allow.
Still, the Padres are temporarily left without arguably their best player, three other starters and an important bench piece.
As per team policy, Tingler did not divulge whether any of the affected players have been vaccinated. Before Tuesday’s game, he noted that Tatis will travel separately from the team back to San Diego, where the Padres open a six-game homestand beginning Friday night against the Cardinals.
Tatis was off to a bit of a slow start to the season, hitting just .240, but his seven steals are tied for the NL lead and his nine homers are one shy. It’s been a remarkably stop-and-start year for Tatis, who inked a 14-year, $340 million contract extension in February. He spent 10 days on the injured list with a partially dislocated left shoulder in April and also missed time during Spring Training because of similar bumps and bruises. Over the weekend in San Francisco, Tatis had pounded out consecutive multi-hit games for just the second time this season.
“He feels like it’s: As soon as he starts to get some momentum going one way, there’s been a small setback here or there,” Tingler said. “It sucks. It sucks going through. But he’s pretty strong mentally, strong inside to stay positive. … He’s going to come through it.”
If Tatis were to miss extended time, the workload at shortstop would almost certainly fall to Ha-Seong Kim, as it did when Tatis landed on the IL earlier this season. Kim started at short on Tuesday and went 1-for-5. Tommy Pham replaced Profar in left and went 2-for-4. The newly promoted Marcano and Andreoli are options to replace Myers and Hosmer, as they did on Tuesday night.
“You’re not going to replace them, but what we are going to do is we’re going to show up, we’re going to compete,” Tingler said. “Nobody’s going to carry that load. It’s going to take a group of guys chipping in, working together … similar to how we had to do it tonight.”
Fourteen different Padres came to the plate in Tuesday’s victory.
Of course, it’s nearly impossible for anyone to replace the kind of production Tatis offers. In 169 career games, Tatis owns a .292/.365/.578 slash line, with 48 homers and 34 steals. Earlier this month, he became the first player in MLB history to record 40 homers and 30 steals in the first 162 games of his career. Hosmer and Myers, meanwhile, are both former All-Stars who regularly hit in the middle of the Padres’ lineup.