July 19, 2024

Padres place Fernando Tatis Jr. (leg) on IL; Yu Darvish remains sidelined with elbow inflammation

SAN DIEGO — Already missing multiple key players, the San Diego Padres on Monday placed star right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. on the 10-day injured list with a stress reaction in his right leg.

The team also announced that Opening Day starter Yu Darvish, who was scheduled to return from a groin strain Tuesday, will remain on the IL because of right elbow inflammation.

In other transactions, the Padres selected the contract of outfielder Bryce Johnson from Triple-A El Paso and recalled right-hander Adam Mazur (to start Tuesday’s game in place of Darvish) and infielder Eguy Rosario. Meanwhile, right-hander Jhony Brito was optioned to El Paso to begin transitioning to a starting role, and reserve outfielder José Azocar was sent down to the same affiliate to get at-bats.

A busy afternoon of moves centered on Tatis, who had been playing through what the Padres believed was a right quad strain. The ailment did not significantly hinder Tatis at the plate — he delivered a four-hit night Thursday and leads San Diego with 14 home runs — but he had recently experienced heightened discomfort while running. The team ordered imaging over the weekend that revealed what manager Mike Shildt described as a “slight stress reaction” in Tatis’ femur (thighbone).

“He could still play because he’s been playing with it,” Shildt said, “but it’s something that’s not going to get better unless we rest it.”

Shildt did not provide a specific timetable for Tatis’ recovery from an injury that typically requires at least several weeks to heal. Shildt suggested that Tatis could return either before or after the All-Star break (July 15-18), adding that “the time and how he heals will be the determinant of that.” Tatis last appeared for the Padres on Friday, exiting a game after taking a pitch off his left elbow. Shildt said Tatis experienced subsequent inflammation but avoided structural damage in that arm.

It remains unclear how Tatis first began to develop the stress reaction, an injury that can turn into a fracture without proper rest or treatment. Tatis said recently, after receiving his first start off this season, that he had been playing through quad tightness since “the third week of April.”

“It’s really deep in my quad right next to the bone, and the medical staff and myself have been trying to figure out what it is,” Tatis said last week. “We’re doing a couple of things that have helped it, but it’s still not all the way back.”



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On Monday, Shildt said Tatis will be able to continue taking swings while on the IL. His activity in that regard is expected to be limited as he waits for his femur to heal.

“When (the stress reaction) happened, it’s hard to say,” Shildt said. “It hasn’t really impacted ultimately his play tremendously, but as we saw, it started to be more consistent with how he was recovering and how he was feeling.

“It was not a traumatic ‘this happened, and oh, my gosh’ (type of incident). … Over the course of time, it’s gotten to where it’s at, and we’re now trying to get back ahead of it.”

Darvish, who was shut down last September with a stress reaction in his right elbow, is on the IL for the second time this season. He spent 15 days on the sideline in April because of neck tightness, returned for six starts and went back on the IL with a groin injury. Shildt said the Padres do not believe Darvish’s latest elbow ailment is serious, but the team is “still in the process” of determining how much time the 37-year-old is likely to miss.

Mazur, a rookie, will continue filling in for Darvish as he had over the past four starts (to the tune of a 7.27 ERA). Brito, who has a 4.35 ERA in 25 relief appearances, will get stretched out in Triple A to become another starting option for a team that is thin on upper-level rotation depth. Joe Musgrove, who has been sidelined since late May because of a bone bruise and bone spur in his right elbow, resumed playing catch Monday, but the veteran starter remains weeks away from a potential return and has acknowledged that arthroscopic surgery is an eventual possibility.



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Other Padres players on the IL include starting second baseman Xander Bogaerts (left shoulder fracture) and starting catcher Luis Campusano (left thumb contusion). Bogaerts, who recently began taking groundballs and swinging with two hands, hopes to return before August. The team is optimistic that Campusano could return after a relatively brief stay on the IL.

In the meantime, with Tatis shelved indefinitely and left fielder Jurickson Profar still playing through left patellar tendinitis, the Padres’ depth will be severely tested. Johnson, who was in Monday night’s starting lineup in right field, has a career .422 OPS in 41 big-league games. Rosario could soon receive a look in the outfield, even though he has never played there professionally.

“Those guys will be back at some point, and they’ll be reinforcements,” Shildt said of San Diego’s sidelined players. “It’ll be like huge trade pieces for us. But no one’s gonna feel sorry for us. We got to buckle down and figure out how we’re gonna compete to win baseball games. And we’ll do that.”

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(Photo: Eric Hartline / USA Today)