Padres superstar shortstop Fernando Tatís Jr. has been suspended without pay, effectively immediately, for violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Tatís tested positive for Clostebol, a synthetic anabolic-androgenic steroid. He’ll serve his 80-game suspension for the remaining 48 regular season games, plus any postseason games, and for 32 more games to start the 2023 season.
The Padres, fresh off taking two of three from the Giants, are 63-51 and in position for the third wild card spot.
News of Tatís’ suspension broke at 3:58 Pacific Time and sent shockwaves — and cell phone notifications — through the Giants’ clubhouse.
Outfielder Austin Slater, the Giants’ players union representative, declined to comment.
In a statement, the Padres said they were “surprised and extremely disappointed to learn today that (Tatís) tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Prevention and Treatment Program.”
Tatís said in his own statement he inadvertently took medicine that contained Clostebal, the banned substance, to treat ringworm.
Tatís added that while he initially appealed the suspension, he eventually decided to start serving his suspension immediately when he realized his mistake.
There was speculation in the Giants’ clubhouse that the Padres may have known Tatís would be suspended when they completed a historic trade to add outfielder Juan Soto before the Aug. 2 trade deadline.
Based on San Diego’s statement and Tatís’ decision to start serving the suspension immediately instead of appeal — which can take roughly a month — it’s more likely San Diego expected their star to contribute this year for its playoff run.
Tatís hasn’t played this season, but was on the verge of returning from a wrist injury suffered in an offseason motorcycle. The 23-year old is in the second year of a 14-year, $340 million contract.
The landscape of the National League West can change any time a player of Tatís’ caliber is sidelined. But Giants manager Gabe Kapler said it doesn’t really change the way San Francisco views their chase for a playoff spot. The Giants are 7.5 games out of a wild card spot and would likely have to leapfrog the Padres to claim one.
“The team that we just played is plenty good to win a ton of baseball games down the stretch,” Kapler said.