By Steve Almasy, CNN
The San Diego Padres were dealt a huge blow to their title aspirations, as their star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. has been suspended for 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
Tatis’ suspension, which MLB announced Friday evening, puts him out for the rest of the season and the first 32 games next year.
“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 Friday. “We fully support the Program and are hopeful that Fernando will learn from this experience.”
Tatis, who has missed the Padres’ first 114 games because of a wrist injury, had recently started a rehabilitation stint in the minors and had looked poised to soon join the Padres’ lineup. In 2021, Tatis hit a league-leading 42 home runs and had 97 RBIs while finishing third in the voting for National League Most Valuable Player.
MLB’s news release said the substance Tatis tested positive for was Clostebol, a steroid.
Following the announcement of his suspension, the MLB Players Association released a statement on behalf of Tatis.
“It turns out that I inadvertently took a medication to treat ringworm that contained Clostebol,” Tatis said. “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.”
Tatis apologized to the Padres’ organization, the league and fans in his statement, calling what he did “my mistake.”
“I have no excuse for my error, and I would never do anything to cheat or disrespect this game I love,” Tatis said.
“I have taken countless drug tests throughout my professional career, including on March 29, 2022, all of which have returned negative results until this test.
“I am completely devastated. There is nowhere else in the world I would rather be than on the field competing with my teammates. 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.”
In 2021, Tatis reportedly signed a 14-year contract worth $340 million.
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CNN’s Jill Martin contributed to this report.