Fernando Tatis Jr. violated Major League Baseball’s policy on performance enhancing drugs, earning the Padres superstar an 80-game suspension on Friday. He has also apparently violated his own team’s trust in him.
It’s rare when a team executive speaks harshly about one of his own players, much less one of the faces of the sport, but that’s exactly what Padres GM A.J. Preller did after the news broke.
“I think what we need to get to is a point in time where we trust,” Preller told reporters. “Over the course of the last six or seven months, I think that’s been something that we haven’t really been able to have there.”
It wasn’t just the suspension that Preller was talking about.
Tatis Jr., fractured his wrist in a motorcycle accident in the offseason. When the 23-year-old superstar was asked when the accident took place, he replied, “Which one?”
As in, there was more than one motorcycle accident?
Still, the Padres were hopeful that Tatis Jr., who has yet to play this season, would be back in the lineup soon. Instead, Tatis Jr., who was scheduled to play his fifth rehab game with Double-A San Antonio, will miss the rest of this season and into next.
“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,” the slugger said in a statement. “I am completely devastated. There is nowhere else in the world I would rather be than on a field competing with my teammates.”
Preller said he received a call from one of Tatis’ representatives just before 4 p.m. Eastern on Friday and that no one with the organization had any idea of the failed test until then, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Then Preller broke the news to the team before the Padres’ game in Washington.
Tatis, who was the 2019 National League Rookie of the Year and finished third in MVP voting last season, is in the second year of a 14-year, $340 million contract.
But Preller didn’t hold back on his assessment of the now fractured relationship Tatis Jr. has with the club.
“From our standpoint, obviously he’s a great talent, he’s a guy we have a lot of history with and do believe in,” he said. “But these things only work when there’s trust both ways. I think that’s going to be something that we’re going to have plenty of conversation and time to talk to Fernando about. That’s something that clearly, if we’re going to have a partnership and a real relationship, we’re going to have to make sure that that’s strong.”
Jack Johnson, who cleared waivers Monday before being assigned to the taxi squad, will be sidelined for the remainder of the season after undergoing core-muscle repair surgery on Friday. Johnson, signed to a one-year free agent deal last summer, played 13
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