SAN DIEGO — A winded, yet buoyant Fernando Tatis Jr. walked off the field Monday afternoon following a baseball-related workout at Petco Park. He had a few words of wisdom he needed to voice, to no one in particular:
“Any day on the field,” Tatis said as he walked through the dugout into the clubhouse, “is a good day.”
Indeed, more of those “good days” could be on the horizon for Tatis, who took an important step in his recovery from a fractured left wrist on Monday.
The superstar shortstop made throws across the diamond for about 30 minutes prior to the series opener between the Reds and Padres. He simulated taking ground balls by holding the baseball in his left hand, going through his fielding motion and then throwing the ball to first base.
“He was out at shortstop today, making some throws to first base, and he’s doing a lot of conditioning, trying to do as much activity as he possibly can,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s doing a lot of stuff … but the last thing will be putting a bat in his hands.”
Tatis underwent surgery on March 16 to repair a fractured scaphoid bone in his left wrist. That operation, the Padres said, would come with a recovery timetable of approximately three months.
In the first couple weeks after the operation, there was little that Tatis could do, physically, with a cast on his wrist. Lately, however, he’s begun throwing, while a Padres staffer catches the ball for him. He’s yet to be able to put his glove on his fielding hand and is currently wearing a brace.
Tatis recently said he felt his recovery was ahead of schedule. But the Padres have said all along that they won’t know whether that’s actually the case until he starts swinging a bat.
In the meantime, Tatis is able to do only certain workouts — most of them cardio-based. One of those workouts drew some attention on Sunday. Tatis played soccer with a few of his teammates prior to the game against Atlanta. A video surfaced of him tripping over the ball and falling (on his uninjured right arm, it should be noted).
“You know what, he’s got a brace on, it’s padded,” Melvin said. “Visually, it’s maybe not the best look. I’ve talked to him a little bit about that. But he’s trying to get a lot of conditioning in. He is protected as far as the hand goes. That’s what I have on that.”
The Padres could sure use Tatis back in their lineup sooner rather than later. They’ve scored just two runs in each of the past three games and are seriously lacking thump, having hit only eight home runs in their first 11 games this season.