Joe Thatcher was a key part of the Padres’ excellent bullpen last season, making 65 appearances as a left-handed specialist while logging 35 innings with a 1.29 ERA and 45/7 K/BB ratio.
He began this season on the disabled list with a strained shoulder and the Padres announced yesterday that the 28-year-old left-hander will need arthroscopic surgery.
Thatcher told Don Norcross of the San Diego Union Tribune that he’s hoping the labrum damage is minimal, in which case he might be able to return late in the season, but if labrum reconstruction is required he’s looking at a return timetable of 9-12 months and a potentially career-altering recovery.
Norcross notes that Thatcher allowed just one run in his final 40 appearances last season, but he’s been sidelined since the middle of spring training and took three cortisone shots in an effort to heal the injury through rest and rehab.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.