Fernando Tatis Jr. spoke unprompted for 250 seconds Tuesday at Petco Park. He was measured, unscripted, and dejected. He “failed” everyone by testing positive for a PED and swore to make apologies.
Tatis said this while flanked by Padres GM A.J. Preller and dozens of reporters.
“I’m to fault. I haven’t made the correct decisions in recent weeks, months, or even this year. I’ve made a mistake and regret every move I’ve taken. It’s still early. I’ll remember how this feels and never repeat it. I need to regain much love. I’m busy.”
Tatis, 23, tested positive for the anabolic steroid Clostebol, causing an 80-game suspension and making him one of the most renowned players disciplined under MLB’s drug programme, with Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and Robinson Cano. Tatis was suspended in late July and contemplated appealing.
Tatis booked a trip out of San Antonio on Aug. 12 without telling the organisation.
Tatis met with Preller six days after the Padres’ road trip. Tatis met with Padres chairman Peter Seidler on Saturday and held a 15- to 20-minute players-only meeting Tuesday before addressing the media.
Tatis answered questions in two languages for 20 minutes. “I feel like we communicated well. It was fair. I got a chance.”
Tatis maintained that the positive test was provoked by a skin medicine containing the steroid, which his father identified as Trofobol. Tatis has been “suffering with a skin infection” and got treatment in the Dominican Republic, outside the Padres’ medical staff’s oversight. He described not screening the prescription for illegal substances “dumb.”
Tatis: “No excuses.” “None. I need to improve my internal health. These activities are unacceptable.”
Tatis said he tested positive for steroids because he was foolishly trying to battle a skin disease, a ringworm, and not because he was trying to increase his performance or recuperate from a wrist injury. Tatis said he’ll give followers a new story to make them trust him.
Tatis’ positive test and punishment announcement were delayed because he went through the appeals process, which MLB and the MLBPA agreed to keep secret from the team. Tatis “felt that we had a very strong case” but was told by his “team” he was unlikely to win, so he began serving the suspension immediately.
“Every great partnership has its challenges,” Preller added. “I’ve discussed mistakes with Fernando. Everybody errs. Padres supporters will point to my mistakes as general manager, I’m sure. The important is how you learn from mistakes and move on.”
Tatis’ personality, flare, and otherworldly talent made him a face of the sport early on, and the Padres gave him a 14-year, $340 million agreement in 2021. Tatis is the only player in baseball history with 80 homers and 50 steals in 300 games. By the end of this year, he will have played in only 273 of 546 regular-season games. He missed the final seven weeks of 2019 with a lower back stress response and all of 2021 with a sore shoulder. A wrist injury from a December motorcycle accident and a positive drug test will cause him to miss 2022 and early 2023.
Tatis stated he regretted riding the motorcycle and announced he will have shoulder surgery soon. Tatis is still suspended, but he is expected to be fit for full baseball activity by spring training.
Tatis opted to get surgery since he felt the pain returning. “I wasn’t great.”
Tatis’ suspension hurt a championship-hopeful Padres club. Less than two weeks ago, Preller added Juan Soto, a 23-year-old who is one of baseball’s best hitters. Bell and Drury were also included. Once Tatis returned, the Padres were expected to have a potent offence and a distinguished pitching staff that included Josh Hader.
Tatis was suspended 30 minutes before a Friday game in D.C. Joe Musgrove and Mike Clevinger praised Tatis’ maturity and dependability after the game. Players were more empathetic Tuesday.
Musgrove: “People err.” “We won’t let it ruin his career. I know fans will, and people will feel how they want to feel, but I told him the most important people are the people in this room, the staff, and the players. He did an excellent job describing what happened and how remorseful he was. It’s not an easy conversation to have, but it’s the first step to rectifying things and preparing everyone for his return.”
Machado: “We all make mistakes, and we must face ourselves.” “Everyone makes stupid mistakes. We must learn from it and move on. He came in and addressed the gathering. We’re all family here; we support each other.”
Tatis apologised to teammates before meeting with Padres manager Bob Melvin. Tatis begged his colleagues for aid with his uphill climb, especially his public image.
Tatis said he’d tell students who once idolised him not to: “I see. I’m sympathetic. Fan. This game was my childhood. If my favourite player did something like me, I’d feel the same. I’d be sad. I’d be disappointed. I get it. I’ll work to regain their faith when I return.”