San Diego Padres dynamo Fernando Tatis Jr, one of the brightest and freshest stars in all of Major League Baseball, was suspended 80 games on Friday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance and will not play not this season.
MLB said Tatis tested positive for Clostebol, an anabolic steroid. Tatis said he accidentally took a medicine to treat ringworm that contained the banned substance.
The MLB penalty took effect immediately, meaning the All-Star shortstop – who had been out all season with a broken wrist but was due to return to playoff contention next week – can’t play in the majors until next year.
Tatis will miss the remaining 48 regular season games this year. All postseason games the Padres play will count toward the 80 Tatis is scheduled to miss, and he will serve the remainder of the suspension at the start of next season.
“Everyone was shocked,” Padres star Manny Machado said after a 10-5 win over Washington.
Tatis, 23, who signed a 14-year, $340 million deal ahead of the 2021 season, has become one of the highest-profile players ever penalized for performance-enhancing drugs, along with Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez. The penalty will cost Tatis around $2.9 million.
MLB says the suspension will also prevent Tatis from playing for the Dominican Republic around the world Baseball Classic next March.
“Obviously everyone is very disappointed. Someone that, organizationally, we invested time and money in,” Padres general manager AJ Preller said at Nationals Park, where San Diego faced Washington.
Flashy at the plate and on the field, Tatis was an All-Star last season when he led the National League with 42 home runs. He was soon expected to join the Padres to bolster a roster that added star outfielder Juan Soto this month just before the trade deadline.
In a statement released by the Players Union, Tatis said he was “completely devastated” and apologized to Padres management, teammates, MLB and “and fans around the world for my mistake.” .
“Turns out I inadvertently took a ringworm medication that contained Clostebol,” he said. “I should have used the resources I had to make sure no banned substances were in what I took. I failed to do so.
“I have no excuse for my mistake, and I would never do anything to cheat or disrespect this game that I love,” he said.
Tatis added that “after initially appealing the suspension, I realized that my mistake was the cause of this outcome, and for this reason, I decided to begin serving my suspension immediately. I look forward to reuniting with my teammates on the pitch in 2023.”
Freddy Galvis and Dee Strange-Gordon are among the major leaguers previously suspended for using Clostebol, which can be used for ophthalmological and dermatological purposes. It is also banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and Olympic gold medalist cross-country skier Therese Johaug was suspended in 2016 after testing positive.
Tatis was the seventh player suspended this year under the major league drug program. Thirty-three have been suspended under the minor league drug program.
Players who test positive for PED are not eligible for the playoffs that year.
Preller said he discovered the suspension late Friday afternoon. He said he hadn’t spoken to Tatis yet, but had seen his player’s statement.
“Again, it’s his story. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him about it yet. Ultimately, that’s his explanation,” Preller said. “I think the most important thing from our perspective, from a baseball perspective, is that there’s a drug policy in place. He failed a drug test. For whatever reason that is.”
“At the end of the day, he is suspended and cannot play. This is the most important thing. It is a player’s responsibility to ensure that he respects this. He wasn’t. Ultimately, I support that and want to make sure he understands that,” he said.
The son of a former big leaguer, Tatis made his MLB debut in 2019 and quickly became a smash hit on the court and with fans. He has a career .965 OPS and has played at shortstop and in the outfield.
Tatis has become one of the biggest MLB players suspended for PED since penalty testing began in 2004, joining Rodriguez (2014 season), Ramirez (50 games in 2009 and 100 games in 2011), Robinson Canó (80 matches in 2018 and season 2020) and Miguel Tejada (105 matches in 2013).
Tatis was on the injured list this season after breaking his left wrist – the accident is believed to have taken place in December in a motorbike accident in the Dominican Republic. He underwent surgery in mid-March.
“I think we hope that from the offseason to now there will be some maturity. Obviously with the news today it’s more of a role model and something that we have to dig a little deeper,” Preller said.
“I’m sure he’s very disappointed. In the end, it’s one thing to say. You have to start showing it with your actions,” he said.
Preller added: “I think what we have to achieve is a moment that we (him) trust. In the last six or seven months, that’s something we haven’t really been able to have there.
“I think from our perspective he’s obviously a great talent, he’s a guy we have a lot of history with and believe in, but those things only work when there’s strength. two-way trust.”
On August 6, Tatis began a minor rehab assignment with Double-A San Antonio. He was 2 for 9 with a double and a triple in four games.
The Padres traded for Soto hoping to make a run through October. They believed a roster including Soto, Tatis and Machado might give them a better chance of winning the first World Series championship in team history – now they’ll have to give that try without any of those key elements. .
“Hearing that he’s going to be suspended for 80 games and not being part of what we’re trying to accomplish here is something you don’t want to hear before a game and don’t want to hear on the whole. C It’s just a terrible thing,” Machado said.
“We were waiting to get him back and he was a spark plug,” he said.
Manager Bob Melvin added: “It’s a big blow for us. … I’m glad we took the action we did within the time frame.
Tatis will not be able to play in the WBC early next year. Dominican fans were salivating at the thought of seeing a killer line-up including Tatis, Soto, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Rafael Devers and José Ramírez.
Tatis will lose $1,510,989 of his $5 million salary this year, covering the final 55 days and 48 games of the season. He will lose an estimated $1.39 million of his $7 million salary for the first 32 games next season, with the exact number to be determined by the number of days he misses.
“There’s no other place in the world I’d rather be than on the pitch competing with my teammates,” Tatis said.
“I have taken countless drug tests throughout my professional career, including March 29, 2022, all of which have been negative up until this test,” he said.
The penalty was announced shortly before the Padres played against Washington. San Diego started the day 63-51 and held the final three NL wildcard spots.
Preller said the team had about 15 minutes to discuss Tatis’ suspension before entering the field.
“We haven’t had (Tatis) this season so it’s not like we have him in the lineup and now we won’t,” Preller said. “I think for a man, all the guys in this clubhouse believe we can win. They know we can win. I was never about just one player.