WASHINGTON — 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 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-imposed 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 said the suspension will also prevent Tatis from playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic next March.
“Obviously everyone is very disappointed. Someone who, organizationally, we’ve 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 homers. 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 didn’t.”
“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 my mistake was the cause of this outcome, and for that reason, I have decided to begin serving my suspension immediately. I look forward to to join 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, that’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 just from our perspective, from a baseball perspective, there’s a drug policy in place. He failed a drug test. For some reason.”
“At the end of the day, he’s suspended and can’t play. That’s the most important thing. It’s a player’s responsibility to make sure he respects that. He wasn’t. Ultimately, he supports that and wants 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 had been 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 was operated on in mid-March.
“I think we’re hoping that between the offseason and now there will be some maturity. Obviously with the news today it’s more of a trend and something we need to dig a little bit. more,” Preller said.
“I’m sure he’s very disappointed. At the end of the day, that’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 that we haven’t really been able to have. the low. “
“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 figured a roster including Soto, Tatis and Machado might give them a better shot at the first World Series championship in team history – now they’ll have to give it a 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 blow for us. … I’m glad we got the things we did on schedule.”
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 featuring 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 at this club believe we can win. They know we can win. I’ve never been about just one player.”