Fernando Tatis Jr. personally apologized to his San Diego Padres teammates for testing positive on a performance-enhancing drug, then publicly apologized for the 80-game suspension that will keep him off the field well into next season.
“I’m really sorry for my mistakes,” the star shortstop said during a press conference in the Padres dugout on Tuesday.
“I’ve seen my dreams turn into my worst nightmares. There’s no one else to blame but myself. I haven’t made the right decisions for the past two weeks, months, even the beginning of the year. I’m wrong and I I regret every step I have taken,” said 23-year-old Tatis.
Tatis, one of baseball’s brightest stars, was banned for 80 games on Aug. 12 after MLB said he tested positive for clostebol, an anabolic steroid. Tatis originally said he accidentally took a drug to treat ringworm that contained the banned substance.
When asked about the ringworm story, Tatis offered clarification, saying he had been suffering from a skin infection for a while, took some medication and tested positive shortly after.
“There are no excuses,” he said. “I have to try much harder to know what’s going on in my body.”
Tatis was close to making his season debut after recovering from surgery on his broken left wrist in mid-March. He was injured in a motorcycle accident in his native Dominican Republic in early December.
“There is no one else to blame but myself. I made a mistake,” Tatis said. “I’m really sorry. I’ve let so many people down. I’ve lost so much love from people. I failed. I’m going to remember how this feels, and I’m not going to put myself in this. I know I have a lot of love that I have to recover. I have a lot of work to do, it will be a very long process. I am learning, I am maturing.”
Tatis said he will have surgery on his troublesome left shoulder as soon as possible. Neither Tatis nor the Padres would specify what the surgery is for, but he made multiple visits to the shoulder injured list in 2021, playing just 130 games last season.
Tatis will be on the restricted list for the final 48 games of the Padres’ regular season. All post-season games the Padres play this season will count towards Tatis’s total of 80 games. The remainder of the suspension will be evicted at the beginning of the 2023 season.
He is on the second season of a $340 million 14-year contract.
After emerging as a star in his rookie season at age 20, Tatis finished fourth in the National League MVP voting in his sophomore season. Last year he was even better, signing the record deal, finishing third in the MVP voting and making himself one of the best players in the game.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.