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Padres’ A.J. Preller Questions Fernando Tatis Jr.’s Maturity After 80-Game PED Ban

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NORTH PARK Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was suspended 80 games Friday for violating Major League Baseball’s performance-enhancing drug policy, and today, general manager A.J. Preller is questioning the slugger’s maturity.

“I believe we’re hoping that from the offseason to now, that there will be some maturity. And obviously with the news headlines today, it’s more of a pattern then one we have to dig a bit more into,” Preller told reporters. “I’m sure he’s very disappointed but by the end of your day, it’s a very important factor to say this. You need to begin by showing it together with your actions.”

“I believe what we have to get to is really a time we trust [him]. During the period of the final six or seven months, which has been a thing that we haven’t been really in a position to have there,” Preller added, via ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

“I believe from our standpoint, obviously he’s an excellent talent, he’s a man we have lots of history with and do have confidence in, but these exact things only work when there’s trust both ways.”

Tatis tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug Clostebol, in accordance with Passan. He’ll skip the remainder of the 2022 season and can miss the start of the 2023 campaign while serving the suspension.

The 2021 All-Star will not be permitted to compete for the Dominican Republic at the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

Tatis said in a statement he took the drug as a blunder and isn’t appealing the ban:

“As it happens that I inadvertently took a medication to take care of ringworm that contained Clostebol. I will purchased the resources open to me to be able to make sure that no banned substances were in what I took. I didn’t achieve this.

“I would like to apologize to Peter [Seidler], AJ [Preller], the complete Padres organization, my teammates, Major League Baseball and fans everywhere for my mistake. I’ve no excuse for my error, and I’d never do anything to cheat or disrespect this game I really like.”

The 23-year-old hasn’t played any games for the Padres this year and was on a rehab assignment with among San Diego’s minor league affiliates after dealing with wrist surgery stemming from the reported motorcycle accident.

Tatis emerged as a star in MLB when he broke onto the scene in 2019, finishing third in Rookie of the entire year voting after slashing .317/.379/.590 with 22 home runs and 53 RBI in 84 games.

He followed that up hitting .277/.366/.571 with 17 home runs and 45 RBI in 59 games through the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He finished fourth in MVP voting and earned his first Silver Slugger Award.

Tatis continued to possess another impressive season in 2021, hitting .282/.364/.611 with 42 home runs and 97 RBI in 130 games. He earned his first All-Star Game selection, his second Silver Slugger Award and finished third in MVP voting.

Devoid of Tatis designed for the postseason is really a tough blow for the Padres, who entered Friday’s game contrary to the Washington Nationals second in the NL West with a 63-51 record. Luckily, the franchise now has another superstar in Juan Soto, who should help them create a solid playoff run.

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