NEW YORK (AP) — San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr., one of the brighest, freshest stars in all of Major League Baseball, was suspended 80 games on Friday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
The penalty imposed by MLB was effective immediately, meaning the dynamic shortstop cannot play in the majors this year. He will miss the remaining 48 regular-season games this season and the first 32 next year.
Flashy at the plate and in the field, the 23-year-old Tatis was an All-Star last season when he led the National League with 42 home runs. He had not played this season after breaking his wrist in spring training.
MLB said Tatis tested positive for Clostebol, a performance-enhancing substance.
“It turns out that I inadvertently took a medication to treat ringworm that contained Clostebol,” Tatis said in a statement released by the players’ union. “I should have used the resources available to me in order 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, adding, “I am completely devastated.”
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 use. It is also banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, and Olympic gold medal winning cross-country skier Therese Johaug was suspended in 2016 after testing positive for it.
Tatis had been on the injured list this season after breaking his left wrist in mid-March. He recently had begun a rehabilitation assignment in Double-A and the playoff-contending Padres hoped he could return and boost their chances down the stretch.
“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 an 80-game suspension without pay,” the Padres said in a statement. “We fully support the program and are hopeful that Fernando will learn from this experience.”
The Padres traded for star outfielder Juan Soto earlier this month to boost their chances for a deep run into October. They had hoped a lineup that included Soto, Tatis and Manny 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 the key pieces.
The penalty will cost Tatis about $2.9 million.
Tatis will forfeit $1,510,989 of his $5 million salary this year, covering the final 55 days and 48 games of the season. He will lose approximately $1.39 million of his $7 million salary for the first 32 games of next season, with the exact number to be determined by how many days he misses.
“There is nowhere else in the world I would rather be than on the field competing with my teammates,” Tatis said. “After initially appealing the suspension, I have realized that my mistake was the cause of this result, and for that reason I have decided to start serving my suspension immediately. I look forward to rejoining my teammates on the field in 2023.”
The penalty was announced shortly before the Padres played at Washington. San Diego began the day at 63-51 and holding the final of the three NL wild-card spots.
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