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Fernando Tatis Jr. Tests Positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs, Will Be Suspended 80 games

Fernando Tatis Jr
(Kelly Gavin/Major League Baseball/Getty Images)

Fernando Tatis Jr. Tests Positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs, Will Be Suspended 80 games

San Diego Padres superstar infielder Fernando Tatis Jr. has violated MLB’s performance-enchancing drug policy and will undergo an 80-game suspension without pay, ESPN’s Jeff Passan was first to report Friday.

The suspension will go into effect immediately, prompting him to miss the playoffs and carry over into next season.

According to a press release sent out by MLB, Tatis tested positive for Clostebol, a drug that’s in clear violation of MLB’s Joing Drug Prevention and Treatment program.

Tatis, 23, has yet to play this season due to a fractured wrist suffered in March. He was appearing in minor league games and was nearing a return at the MLB level, but that had yet to occur. So, he will officially return this season.

Since there’s 48 games left in the 2022 season (including Friday), Tatis will also miss 32 games in 2023 — roughly 20 percent of the season.

The Padres, who acquired superstar outfielder Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals, entered Friday at 63-51 and one game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers for the third-and-final National League Wild Card spot. San Diego is also a half-game behind the Philadelphia Phillies and four back of the Atlanta Braves in the wild card race.

“We were surprised and extremely disappointed to learn today that Fernando Tatis Jr. tested postivie for a performance-enhancing drug substance in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Prevention and Treatment Program and subsequently received and 80-game suspension without pay,” the team said via press release. “We fully support the Program and are hopeful that Fernando will learn from this experience.”

Tatis, who made the All-Star team in 2021 and the Silver Slugger in both 2020 and 2021, was at the forefront of growing the sport and perhaps the biggest star in the sport. That makes this…well…all the more disappointing. It’s especially crushing factoring that we could’ve witnessed the Tatis-Soto-Machado triumvirate at the tail-end of 2022. I guess we’ll have to wait another nine or so months to examine it.

Tatis sported a .292/.369/.596 slash line — a .965 OPS and 159 OPS+, averaging 41 home runs and 100 RBIs per 600 plate appearances — through his first three MLB seasons, which will inarguably be hard to replace.

Although it’s not impossible for Soto, Machado, Josh Bell, Jake Cronenworth and Brandon Drury, among others, to pitch in and contribute at an above-average level. Nevertheless, this is a big gut-punch for a team fighting for an NL Wild Card spot. And violating the performance-enchancing drug policy will forever be a stain, no matter how big or small, on one of the league’s biggest young stars.

Here is Tatis’ statement, via the Player’s Union:

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This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for details.

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