MLB Superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. Out Three Months With Broken Left Wrist | But Was It From A Motorcycle Accident In D.R.?

Baseball is returning as the lockout is effectively canceled; however, superstar San Diego Padres player Fernando Tatis Jr. surprised his team with a reported broken wrist injury as spring training returns.

It is the third time in his four MLB seasons that he will miss time due to injury. The news is significant as Tatis signed a $340 million, 14-year extension with the team before the 2021 season.

Last December, Tatis Jr. was reportedly involved in a motorcycle crash in his native San Pedro de Macoris province in the Dominican Republic, an alleged incident both he and his father downplayed considerably.

To Motorcycle Or Not To Motorcycle

“He is fine, in perfect condition,″ said former major league infielder Fernando Tatis, Sr. to ESPN. “They treated him here; it’s not a big deal, just a fall; he scraped his knee and hands a little.″

At that time, Tatis’ father denied the news that his son was involved in a motorcycle accident.

The Padres Speak

However, Padres chairman Peter Seidler is throwing his full support behind the star player primarily due to the amount they have invested in his career. Sunday’s X-rays revealed that he will have to miss up to three months of playing time. That’s not terrible news ,but it is disheartening for a young team with World Series aspirations.

“Most importantly, he’s committed to that,” Seidler said to, “and I’m committed to supporting him in every way.”

Seidler spoke at Tuesday’s annual spring media conference, throwing his full support behind his young star. The Padres chairman believes the 23-year-old’s growth was imminent and would adapt accordingly.

Erasing Past Performances

The Padres are trying to gear up for an overhaul after a lackluster ending to the 2021 season. The front office executed certain moves like revamping the coaching staff, but Tatis Jr. was a major piece of a winning team strategy.

“If you’re going to fall off a cliff like we did last year, you may as well make it dramatic,” Seidler continued. “And we did. I think that was a once-in-a-century what I’ll call learning experience for all of us. It’s a fresh year. We’ve got a very, very good team, and we expect to be a force in the chase for the World Series.”

Injury Prone

Last year Tatis Jr. had a shoulder injury that limited his season to 130 games. Although he avoided surgery, he missed additional playing time placed in health and safety protocols last May.

In late 2020, he suffered a back injury and went from being day-to-day to firm on the 60-day injured list. Also, in early 2019 a hamstring injury put him on the 10-Day injured list.

According to reports, Tatis Jr. received a $10 million signing bonus with a 2022 base salary of $5 million. His salary increases annually, leading towards an eventual average salary of over $24 million.

The Ghost Of Jim Lonborg

However, there are still questions surrounding if Tatis Jr. was in a motorcycle accident because it brings up the Jim Lonborg Clause.

In 1967, Boston Red Sox pitcher Jim Lonborg had a breakout season posting a 22-9 record and a 3.16 earned run average in 273.1 innings. He received an All-Star nod, Cy Young, and the American League MVP Award.

However, after a skiing trip in Lake Tahoe, Lonborg wiped out, tearing ligaments in his left knee and ultimately missed substantial time during the 1968 season. It led the owners to create the hazardous activities clause.

Bikes And Pros: Ron Gant

Fortunately for Tatis Jr., his “accident” didn’t cause permanent damage to his career. Former Atlanta Braves superstar Ron Gant wasn’t that lucky.

Shortly after signing one of the richest contracts in Braves history in 1994, Gant broke his right leg in an ATV accident.

Gant’s right leg was mangled and a rod had to be put in to repair the compound fracture. It effectively ended his career.

“I was on dirt bike doing jumps and lost control and went off the course and my leg just wrapped around a tree,” Gant recalls. “Right when it happened, I knew I had messed my leg up and possibly would never play again. A million things ran through my mind as I lay in that hospital. The Braves made the right decision letting me go. They were able to get a lot of the money back because of the clause in the contract. It all worked out, but the thing I regretted was I wanted to be a Brave my entire career.”

Almost once a year from 1994-2006, high level athletes have been involved in near fatal motorcycle accidents, from former Pittsburgh Steeler QB Ben Rothleisberger to former Chicago Bulls guard Jason Williams.

The San Diego Padres are working to get past bad seasons. Now that Tatis Jr. is out for a few months, the organization has to decide if his decision-making and injury-prone tendencies will meet their goals. Good thing is he has over a decade to prove it. A lot of maturing undoubtedly will occur during that period.

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