It's a scene Padres fans despise watching unfold: Fernando Tatis Jr. leaving a game early because of an injury.
Tatis was removed in the 5th inning of Saturday night's game against the Reds. The all-world shortstop dove to his right trying to field a ground ball, landing awkwardly on his upper body. He immediately writhed in pain, casting a packed Petco Park into an eerie silence.
The 22-year-old superstar walked off the field accompanied by team trainers after re-aggravating the left shoulder injury that's plagued him since he was a teenager.
"He was kind of in full extension and kind of tweaked that shoulder a little bit," says Padres manager Jayce Tingler. "We were kind of debating out there. He was petitioning to stay in, saying 'I can play through this, let's get through the inning.' I just thought, at the end of the day, just a little bit more being precautionary with it (was the best course of action)."
That Tatis wanted to try and play through it is a positive sign, as is the initial word from trainers after their initial examination.
"The testing, everything afterwards, the strength, the range of motion is pretty good," says Tingler. "We'll certainly be day-to-day but we feel like we're in a pretty decent position. The trainers think it's nowhere near where it's been earlier on in the year."
Tatis left a Cactus League game in March with aggravation in his shoulder. At the time we discovered he'd been dealing with in off and on for several years. In the first week of the regular season he suffered a subluxation (partial dislocation) on a violent swing and spent 10 days on the Injured List.
Tatis has slightly altered his style of play to protect the shoulder. He changed his swing to finish with two hands instead of one and slides feet-first more often than headfirst.
The Padres can ill afford to lose his production. He leads the team in most statistical categories, including home runs, RBI, runs scored, stolen bases and OPS.
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