The Padres lost to the Giants 3-0 on Friday night, securing a losing record for the 2021 season.
Now on to something potentially less easy to predict.
Assuming Fernando Tatis Jr. plays the remaining two games in San Francisco, he will have played in 130 games in 2021. The other 32 games he missed due to health issues, the majority of them because of a shoulder injury.
Tatis has suffered multiple subluxations, which happens when the shoulder temporarily pops out of its socket and slides back in. It's incredibly painful.
The fact Tatis has put up legitimate MVP-caliber numbers while dealing with the ailment, wearing a protective shoulder harness, changing his swing mid-season to put less strain on the joint, and moving part-time to the outfield (where he'd never played before) is truly mind-blowing.
Speculation on whether or not he should have the shoulder surgically repaired has come up every time he's missed time with the injury. Now that the season is near an end everyone wants to know if the face of the franchise, and arguably MLB, is going to go under the knife.
It doesn't look like it.
"I haven't sat down with A.J. (Preller, Padres general manager) and the doctors but I feel like everybody's in a positive way of not taking the surgery. But, we'll see. I feel like I'm in a great spot, my shoulder's in a great spot, I feel very secure in where I'm at right now," says Tatis.
Once a shoulder subluxates it's more prone to happen again. The ligaments around the ball and socket are loosened and the labrum becomes more vulnerable to tearing. The most common ways to treat the problem are surgery or physical therapy, depending on multiple factors like severity of the injury and the natural ability of the individual's body to heal.
Here's where things get tricky.
Strengthening the muscles and ligaments through physical therapy, medications, and small in-office procedures could very well do the trick but it does leave open the possibility of future temporary separations.
Surgery is a more permanent option but it's not a walk in the park. It could involve grafting or removing bone or connective tissue in the area, and tightening the labrum, ligaments and tendons. While that would keep the joint from popping out as easily it also runs the risk of diminished mobility and loss of strength in the shoulder.
An explosive athlete like Tatis, who keeps himself in tremendous physical condition, could go either way. He's been able to deal with the injury this season and still lead the National League in home runs.
Hopefully he finds the option that works for him and next year plays 160 or so regular season games ... then another 15 or so in the playoffs.
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