“I should have used the resources available to me to ensure that there were no prohibited substances in what I took. I failed to do so,” Tatis said in his statement. “I have no excuse for my mistake and I would never do anything to cheat or disrespect this game I love.”
Tatis had yet to appear in a game this season due to a wrist injury he suffered in an offseason motorcycle accident. He won’t be eligible to play for the Padres if they made the postseason. San Diego is 16 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West, but would own the newly created third NL wild-card spot if the season ended Friday.
“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 hope that Fernando will learn from this experience.”
League policy dictates that clubs are not notified of a player’s positive test until the day the player is set to be added to the restricted list, so the Padres did not know Tatis had tested positive when they made a franchise-altering deal to acquire Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals at the trade deadline.
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At the time, that deal looked like a boon for a team struggling with its young superstar, Tatis, preparing to return from injury for the stretch run. In hindsight, Soto and Josh Bell will replace that much-needed production as the Padres try to make the long October run they and general manager AJ Preller have sought for most of the last decade.
Now Soto and Bell will anchor a Padres lineup that still features Manny Machado, a formidable heart of the order who looked poised to be dominant down the stretch but had yet to be: San Diego is 3 -5 since the Soto trade, including a sweep at the hands of the Dodgers last week.
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When Tatis has been healthy in the big leagues, he has been explosive. Last season, despite battling a shoulder injury down the stretch, he led the league with 42 homers at age 22. He was an MVP candidate in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
But after struggling with the shoulder problem late in 2021, Tatis returned from the lockout with a new problem that his team had been unable to resolve while the players negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement: He had broken his wrist in a motorcycle accident. His return had been slower than some hoped, but it was likely to come soon. He will not return until 2023.
This is a development story that has been updated.