Fernando Tatis Jr. homers in return; Padres, Dodgers put on epic show
Fernando Tatis Jr. is back, and his shoulder appears to be fine. So is the budding rivalry between the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 22-year-old Padres star, who missed the previous 10 games after a frightening-looking shoulder injury, returned to the field with a very loud bang Friday night.
The home run came in the fifth inning, with the Padres locked in a 1-1 tie with the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. On a 2-1 count, Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler threw a 95 mph pitch out over the plate, and Tatis blasted it over the center-field wall.
That was just one moment in what turned out to be an incredible contest between two talented NL West rivals, a game the Dodgers eventually won 11-6 in 12 innings.
First, let's get to Tatis.
It was an up-and-down game for the young shortstop, but the home run was a welcome sign for baseball fans who watched him go down in a heap when swinging and missing a pitch on April 5.
The Padres opted to let Tatis rehab his shoulder instead of undergoing surgery in an effort to get him back on the field as soon as possible.
According to FOX Sports Injury & Performance Analyst Dr. Matt Provencher, surgery would have meant a four-to-six-month recovery process. Rehabbing the shoulder carries a greater risk of reinjury, but one of the things the Padres have done to try to protect the shoulder is have Tatis keep both hands on the bat on his follow-through.
Note the difference in his swing on the night he was injured …
… compared to Friday night’s home run.
He doesn’t appear to have lost any power with the new swing.
Later in the contest, Tatis made a brilliant stop on a grounder but then turned it into a costly error.
Tatis ended up going 1-for-6 with the home run. He struck out twice.
Regardless, it was a thrilling night filled with comebacks and counter-comebacks, a benches-clearing incident, pitchers taking the field, fielders taking the mound and a five-run explosion in the 12th inning. The Padres got their star back and showed a never-give-up spirit. And the Dodgers came away with the victory.
Let's look at some of the highlights from an amazing night.
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