As the San Diego Padres season came to a close, their star right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. is looking forward to having a complete offseason that will allow him to focus on improvement — not rehab and recovery.

Tatis underwent surgery last spring to repair a fractured scaphoid bone. A second wrist surgery helped secure the wrist and that was followed up by a procedure last December to remove the screws. He also underwent shoulder surgery last fall to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, leaving him not being able to resume baseball activities until January of this year.

He completed his comeback season with a .259 batting average, 25 home runs, and 29 stolen bases. He did that while making the move from shortstop to right field and finished at the top of the National League leaderboard in several defensive metrics and seems a lock to win his first Gold Glove Award.

Fernando Tatis spoke with M&F on how he’s been able to handle the bumps and bruises that present themselves throughout the year, how he’s learned to have fun with his training, and what he reminds himself during the good and bad times.

Fernando Tatis in the dugout wearing his hyperx
Fernando Tatis/MLB

A Partnership That Fits Like a Glove

Fernando Tatis has had the unfortunate experience of already having gone through some shoulder injuries throughout his career. Last Fall, he underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Tatis says that the silver lining in the injuries is the knowledge they have given him about his body. His partnership with Hyperice has helped him to address those areas of concern while the new Hyperice X Shoulder has quickly become a favorite of the slugger.

“I feel like [the partnership] just works with [being] the type of athlete that I am,” Tatis said. I’ve definitely learned how to use the Hypervolt and the Normatec boots. The HyperX [Shoulder] has been huge for my shoulders—just to get back ready before and after training.”

Tatis says that as the deeper into the season it gets, the travel, time zone changes, and wear and tear from playing 162 games in 187 days begins to take its toll on you. The focus on being consistent in your routine and the importance of taking care of your body only heightens.

Find Fun In Training

In a profession that is all about routine and regimen, the best players will always seek ways to improve. Last offseason Tatis joined teammate Joe Musgrove in underwater training. The training includes breathwork, using weights while underwater, and walking along the pool floor. It was something Musgrove had been doing for some time and after completing the training, Tatis has found it useful for his play on the field.

“It has helped me control my breathing and how to have [better] control,” said Tatis. “With being under the water, [it’s finding] how to create that silence, how can I slow down my pulse and I bring that to the game. When it starts getting fast—you’re making plays or you’re hauling ass around the bases — you still have to be under control and you get that from that breathing and silence that you create.”

Being from the Dominican Republic, Tatis says he was born in the water and it didn’t take long to adjust. It’s something he says he will continue in the future.

Since his career started, he’s always been mindful and knowledgeable about what was needed to take care of his body at the professional level — eating the right food, making sure he got the proper rest, and establishing a great routine in the gym. With a good foundation in place, his focus now is on creating joy in finding new ways to maximize his talents.

“It’s about learning new stuff about your body,” he said. “Different ways to take care of the body, and at the same time, having fun while working out.”

Fernando Tatis in the dugout looking on the game
Fernando Tatis

Remember Your Why

Repetition and consistency are some of the necessary ingredients for success. They also aren’t the most glamorous aspects of that process. Even with being young in age, Tatis has been through some of the ups and downs that come with the game. While the downs can seem massive, he always reminds himself of what matters most.

“It’s a tough game and it’s about consistency, why you’re here, and who you’re playing for,” he said. “I feel [the why] is a huge reason. Even when you are having success and on the top — one of the biggest things to remember is the why. Don’t forget where you come from.”

For Fernando Tatis, there is no getting bored with the process as he always serves himself a simple reminder when complacency might start to creep in.

“I feel like this is the game that you loved as a kid and you should never get bored,” he said. “At the end of the day, every game that you play is one less game that you’re going to get to play for the rest of your life.”

Follow Fernando on Instagram @fernando_tatis21