Fernando Tatís Jr. Suspension Further Hurts Padres’ Odds Of Catching Dodgers In NL West

The San Diego Padres already faced an uphill battle in the National League West as they trail the Los Angeles Dodgers by 16 games, but on Friday, that climb became even more difficult with Fernando Tatis Jr. getting suspended for a positive PED test.

Major League Baseball announced Tatís was suspended 80 games without pay after he tested positive for Clostebol, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the league’s joint drug prevention and treatment program.

The suspension became effective immediately and makes Tatís ineligible to play in the 2022 postseason. Additionally, the All-Star shortstop will miss the first 32 games on the 2023 season.

“It turns out that I inadvertently took a medication to treat ringworm that contained Clostebol,” Tatís said in a statement via the MLB Players Association. “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 want to apologize to Peter, AJ, the entire Padres organization, my teammates, Major League Baseball, and fans everywhere for my mistake. I have no excuse for my error, and I would never do anything to cheat or disrespect this game I love.

“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.”

The additional pressure it puts on the rest of the Padres lineup and organization is hard to understate. After going all-in at the trade deadline, San Diego was able to acquire Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Brandon Drury and Josh Hader in exchange for most of their top prospects and additional mid-tier Minor Leaguers with the hopes of soon winning a World Series.

While the Padres still have a talented team that can compete, losing arguably their best player drastically decreases their chances of winning a championship this year. Following the season, they will also have multiple decisions to make with multiple key players set to reach free agency, including Bell and Mike Clevinger.

“We were surprised and extremely disappointed to learn today that Fernando Tatís 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.”

Entering play Saturday, the Padres still the third and final Wild Card spot, but their lead over the Milwaukee Brewers is only one game. Their chances to win the NL West are essentially non-existent, and now they’ll need to work even harder just to clinch a playoff spot after being the talk of baseball following the trade deadline.

Tatís joins rare company with suspension

Tatís has already been on the 60-day injured list for all of this year following multiple motorcycle accidents in the offseason which resulted in a fractured wrist.

After finishing third in the NL MVP voting last season, he becomes the third player in the Expansion Era (since 1961) to finish top three for MVP and miss the entire following season.

Tatís joins Moisés Alou, who missed the 1999 season due to a torn ACL following a treadmill accident, and Dodgers Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, who retired after the 1966 campaign.

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