Padres manager lambastes pitchers for throwing near Fernando Tatis Jr.’s head: ‘It’s enough’

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Fernando Tatis Jr. has ruffled plenty of feathers in his young career, but his manager says enough is enough.

San Diego Padres manager Mike Shildt came to the defense of his right fielder, saying Tatis is “seeing way too many pitches up and in.”

The rant came after the Padres’ 7-1 win over the NL West rival Arizona Diamondbacks.

Tatis ducked out of the way of a pitch near his head several innings after he hit a two-run home run.

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Fernando Tatis almost HBP

Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres dodges a pitch during the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field May 3, 2024, in Phoenix, Ariz. (Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

“It’s enough. It really is enough. If you want to throw in, that’s fine. But I don’t know what people are trying to accomplish by throwing up and in. All you’re doing is p—ing the guy off, and it’s uncalled for,” Shildt said. “It’s happening way too frequently, and it’s not something that we’re going to tolerate much longer.

“Throwing inside is part of the game,’’ Shildt added. “We know this for 100-plus years. It’s part of it. And the inner half can be a battle between the pitcher and the hitter. We do it. We expect people to do it. It’s part of it. But I’ve seen way too many pitchers up and in on Tati.

“I mean, listen, if you want to throw up and in on the guy, fine. But get away from the top of his body, and definitely stay away from his head. That’s just not appropriate. And no hitter, no pitcher, nobody could defend it. I don’t get it. It’s not necessary. It’s not the way it needs to be played.”

Fernando tatis moves out of way

San Diego Padres outfielder Fernando Tatis Jr. dodges a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ninth inning at Chase Field.  (Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports)

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Tatis says it’s simply just a strategy.

“Pitchers feel like that’s the only way to get me out,” he said.

But he says he has noticed there have been a few pitches near the danger zone.

“I’m trying to stay in the game, but I feel like there’s been so many of those,” Tatis said. “You’re throwing at my head. So, if you can’t go inside, just figure it out and clean it up.” 

Tatis received an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a banned substance in 2022, but he doesn’t think it has anything to do with that. It’s been well over a year at this point.

Tatis is, without a doubt, one of the more colorful players in the league though. When an opposing fan base mocked his suspension with a chant last season, he danced to it. And his bat flips will always annoy plenty.

He’s even had a brushback from his own organization. 

Julio Rodriguez in disbelief

The San Diego Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. stops jogging the bases after realizing the Seattle Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez caught his long fly ball during the fourth inning Aug. 8, 2023, in Seattle.  (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

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When Tatis got suspended, Padres general manager A.J. Preller seemed to insinuate Tatis was out of his circle of trust, citing a lack of “maturity.” Tatis had been injured in one of several of his motorcycle crashes over the previous offseason, and the suspension came down just as he was about to return from injury.

Tatis is slashing .246/.333/.455 after winning a Gold Glove in right field last year, his first year at the position. He finished in 14th in the NL MVP vote last year after finishing in fourth and third in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Tatis signed a 14-year, $340 million extension before the 2021 season after playing just 143 big league games. 

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