Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. suspended 80 games after positive drug test

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.

The MLB-imposed penalty took effect immediately, meaning the shortstop can’t play at the majors this year for the playoff-contending Padres. He will miss the remaining 48 regular season games this season and the first 32 next year.

MLB said the suspension — making Tatis one of the most high-profile players penalized for PEDs — would also prevent him from playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

Flashy at the plate and on the field, the 23-year-old Tatis was an All-Star last season when he led the National League with 42 homers. He hadn’t played this season after breaking his wrist in the offseason, but was expected to join the Padres next week to bolster a roster that recently added star outfielder Juan Soto.

MLB said Tatis tested positive for Clostebol, a performance-enhancing substance.

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 at my disposal 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.

Freddy Galvis and Dee Gordon are among the major leaguers previously suspended for using Clostebol, an anabolic steroid that 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.

Johaug, one of Norway’s most decorated cross-country skiers, has tested positive for the steroid Clostebol. The Norwegian ski federation said the drug came from a lotion given to him by team doctor Fredrik Bendiksen to treat sunburn on his lips during high-altitude training in Italy in August.

Players who test positive for PEDs are not eligible for the playoffs that year.

Tatis has become one of the biggest MLB players suspended for PED since penalty testing began in 2004, joining Alex Rodriguez (2014 season), Manny Ramirez (50 games in 2009 and 100 games in 2011), Robinson Cano (80 games in 2018 and 2020 season) and Miguel Tejada (105 games in 2013).

Tatis had been on the injured list this season after breaking his left wrist – believed to have happened in December in a motorcycle accident in the Domincan. He underwent surgery in mid-March.

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.

Padres “surprised and extremely disappointed”

“We were surprised and extremely disappointed to learn today that Fernando Tatis Jr. tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Prevention and Treatment Program and subsequently received a suspension. 80 games without pay,” the Padres said in a statement. “We fully support the program and hope Fernando learns from this experience.”

The Padres traded for Soto earlier this month hoping to make a run through October. They had hoped that a roster including Soto, Tatis and fellow slugger Manny Machado might give them a better chance at the first World Series championship in team history – now they will have to give that try without one of them. these key elements.

Tatis will not be able to play for the Dominican Republic in the WBC next March. Dominican fans were salivating at the thought of a deadly line-up featuring Tatis, Soto, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Rafael Devers and Jose Ramirez.

The penalty will cost Tatis approximately US$2.9 million.

Tatis will lose $1,510,989 of his $5 million salary this year, spanning 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. “After initially appealing the suspension, I realized that my mistake was the cause of this result, and for this reason, I have decided to start serving my suspension immediately. I look forward to joining my teammates on the land in 2023.”

“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 in Washington. San Diego started the day 63-51 and held the final three NL wildcard spots.

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