Lately, the Fernando Tatis Jr. updates from the San Diego Padres have been pretty positive in nature. Moreover, just days ago, the Padres said that they expected Tatis Jr. back for the epic series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.
Now, that still seems to be the case as Manny Randhawa writes on MLB.com that the Padres are ‘optimistic’ about his return.
The club is still optimistic he'll be in the lineup Friday to open their series with the Dodgers at Petco https://t.co/19wqZPh0fX
— Manny Randhawa (@MannyOnMLB) April 14, 2021
Still, simply being ‘optimistic’ is a far cry from Tatis Jr. lacing it up and being back in the lineup. Equally important, Padres’ manager Jayce Tingler spoke about the level of caution when Tatis Jr. does return to play.
“There’s definitely a fine line,” Tingler said. “… Things are going to happen in the game, because it’s game speed and he’s just a natural at a lot of things. So I think the main thing is, can we put some focus in some of the practice work and try to minimize that? I believe this with him: the more he practices something — he’s a really quick learner, he’s super sharp, a ton of baseball IQ — the more he practices that, guys like that can usually quickly transition their work into the game.”
Indeed, it seems at some point by this quote that Tatis Jr. will try to give things a go in a live game again in 2021. Just days ago, it seemed like this would be a virtual impossibility.
In addition – if the last few days are any indication – the Padres could use his bat in the lineup. Somehow, the Padres have dropped the last two games in Pittsburgh to the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates.
Finally, the Padres want Tatis Jr. to finish with a two-handed swing instead of his typical top-hand release (one hand finish on a swing). Also, they would like him to use caution when sliding head first. These are probably smart ways to go about it if he’s going to make it through any season fully healthy, including 2021 when they have title aspirations.