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Sunday September 25th, 2022 4:24PM

Padres star shortstop Tatis Jr can't swing a bat just yet

By The Associated Press
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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Fernando Tatis Jr.'s surgically repaired left wrist hasn't progressed to the point where the electrifying All-Star shortstop can start swinging a bat, general manager A.J. Preller said Tuesday.

Tatis had a three-month follow-up exam in Arizona on Monday with Dr. Donald Sheridan, who operated on his broken wrist in mid-March.

The MRI exam “continues to show healing,” but not enough for the doctor to "give a full green light," Preller said.

The shortstop, who signed a $340 million, 14-year contract before the 2021 season, has been doing a number of activities, including taking ground balls, throwing and running. Swinging a bat will begin the last major step his comeback.

“The full go, start swinging the bat, playing in rehab games, that’s going to be more of a week-to-week decision here going forward,” Preller said.

Otherwise, the doctor felt positive about Tatis’ strength and range of motion, Preller said.

Tatis, 23, reportedly was injured in an offseason motorcycle accident in his native Dominican Republic. Although there were social media posts at the time that showed Tatis’ wrist wrapped up, the extent of the injury wasn’t known until he reported to spring training.

The Padres have pulled into a virtual tie with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers atop the NL West without Tatis, who brings a swagger both at the plate and in the field.

Slugger Manny Machado has had an MVP-caliber start to the season, and the Padres have a strong rotation topped by local product Joe Musgrove, who leads the majors with a 1.50 ERA. Kim Ha-seong, who signed with the Padres before last season out South Korea's KBO League, has made the bulk of the starts at shortstop.

Tatis finished third in voting for NL MVP last season after hitting .282 with 42 home runs, 97 RBIs and 25 stolen bases in 130 games. He missed time with a troublesome left shoulder that led the Padres to play him in the outfield for several games as a precaution.

The son of the former big league infielder, Tatis made his big league debut in 2019.

“We've said this from the beginning, this is all about the long term and a long relationship with Fernando and his career,” Preller said. “We're going to be very cautious. ... I think we'll continue to get good news and continue to progress as we go into the next couple of weeks. He's made a lot of progress.”

Preller said Tatis is “in good spirits" even though he's anxious to get back on the field.

“He understands that this is about what's best for him long-term," the GM said.

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Follow Bernie Wilson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/berniewilson

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More AP MLB coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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