San Diego Padres Dynamo Fernando Tatis Jr., one of the brightest, freshest stars in all of Major League Baseball, was suspended 80 games Friday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
MLB said Tatis tested positive for the anabolic steroid clostebol. Tatis said he accidentally took a drug to treat shingles that contained a banned substance.
The penalty imposed by MLB was effective immediately, meaning the shortstop who was ruled out throughout the season due to a broken wrist but was expected to return to playoff contenders next week could not play in the majors this year.
Tatis will not be able to participate in the remaining 48 regular-season games this year and the first 32 games next year. Any post-season game played by the Padres this year would count at 80, which Tatis would have to sit out.
Padres star Manny Machado, after his 10-5 win over Washington, “shocked everyone.”
The 23-year-old Tatis, who signed a $340 million, 14-year contract before the 2021 season, became one of the most prominent players ever penalized for performance-enhancing drugs, along with Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez. The penalty will cost Tatis about $2.9 million.
MLB said the suspension also would knock Tatis from playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
“Everybody’s very disappointed. Somebody that from the organization’s standpoint we invested time and money into,” Padres general manager A.J. Preller said at Nationals Park, where San Diego played Washington.
Flashy at the plate and in the field, Tatis was an All-Star last season when he led the National League with 42 home runs. He was set to rejoin the Padres soon to boost a lineup that added star outfielder Juan Soto this month, right before the trade deadline.
In a statement released by the players’ union, Tatis said he was “completely devastated” and apologized to Padres management, his teammates, MLB and “fans everywhere for my mistake.”
“It turns out that I inadvertently took a medication to treat ringworm that contained Clostebol,” he said. “I should have used the resources available to me to ensure that no banned substances were in what I took. I failed to do so.”
“I have no excuse for my error, and I would never do anything to cheat or disrespect this game I love,” he said.
Freddy Galvis and Dee Strange-Gordon are among the major leaguers previously suspended for using Clostebol, which can be used for ophthalmological and dermatological use. The World Anti-Doping Agency also bans it, and Olympic gold medal-winning cross-country skier Therese Johaug was suspended in 2016 after testing positive for it.
Tatis was the seventh player suspended this year under the major league drug program. Thirty-three have been arrested under the minor league drug program.
Players who test positive for PEDs are ineligible for the postseason that year.
Preller said he found out about the suspension late Friday afternoon. He said he hadn’t spoken yet to Tatis but had seen his player’s statement.
The Padres traded for Soto, hoping to make a run deep into October. They figured a roster that included Soto, Tatis, and Machado could give them a better chance at the first World Series championship in team history now; they’ll have to make that try without one of those critical pieces.