Fernando Tatis Jr.’s father backed up his son’s claim that he violated Major League Baseball’s drug policy because of a steroid that was contained within a ringworm medication and called it “a catastrophe” that the San Diego Padres superstar’s reputation has been tarnished because of it.
Fernando Tatis Sr., who played in the major leagues over parts of 11 seasons, told “The Midday Show” in his native Dominican Republic on Monday that Tatis Jr. used the medication Trofobol to treat a ringworm that appeared on the side of his neck, a photo of which was previously posted on his mother’s Instagram page. The medication, not sold in the United States, is a spray that is used to treat skin conditions, namely scars and burns. The label lists clostebol, the anabolic steroid that Tatis Jr. tested positive for, and neomycin, an antibiotic, as its two main ingredients.
Tatis was handed an 80-game suspension Friday after testing positive for clostebol, ruling him out of the Padres’ final 48 regular-season games and however far they advance through the playoffs, if they get there. The remainder of the suspension will be served at the onset of the 2023 season. The discipline was handed down as Tatis was in the final stages of his recovery from the left wrist injury he suffered during the offseason in what was believed to be a motorcycle accident in December.
Those two incidents, coupled with the 14-year, $340 million extension he signed in February 2021, raised serious concerns about the 23-year-old superstar’s reliability and triggered strong comments from key members of the Padres, most notably general manager A.J. Preller, who alluded to trust issues while speaking with beat reporters last week from Washington, D.C.
Tatis Sr. acknowledged that his son made a mistake in not realizing the medication contained a steroid, a direct violation of MLB’s drug policy, but added that it “could’ve been managed” better by the league, without going into specifics.
“I don’t think there was reason to destroy the image of a player over something as minor as that,” he told “The Midday Show” in Spanish.
Later, Tatis Sr. added: “This is a catastrophe what has taken place, not just for Jr., but for all of baseball. There are millions of fans who are gonna stop watching baseball now. It’s a total disappointment for Dominican fans, fans throughout the world, for something so insignificant that wasn’t worth it. It’s a topical. What came out positive in Jr.’s body is something that doesn’t give you strength, first of all, doesn’t amplify your [weight-training] regimen, that’s second, doesn’t have any testosterone, that’s third, doesn’t contain absolutely anything that would give you an edge in the game. What has occurred is a catastrophe for baseball.”
Clostebol is, indeed, a derivative of testosterone and is an anabolic steroid that has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Dee Gordon and Freddy Galvis have previously been suspended for testing positive for the substance by MLB, which has listed clostebol as a banned substance since the start of its drug-testing program in 2003.
Tatis Jr. is the first player in major league history with 80 home runs and 50 stolen bases within the first 300 games of his career, but he will have played in only 273 of a possible 546 regular-season games by the end of 2022. He missed the final seven weeks of the 2019 season because of a stress reaction in his lower back and spent all of 2021 dealing with a troublesome left shoulder that oftentimes kept him out of the lineup.
His yearlong absence in 2022, however, has been a product of factors that were seemingly well within his control. And it comes at the worst possible time for the franchise, which stripped its farm system bare in order to acquire Juan Soto and has elevated its payroll to historic records while in pursuit of its first championship. In a long statement issued on Friday, Tatis said he briefly considered appealing the suspension before deciding to serve the punishment, adding that he was “completely devastated” by the circumstance.
Tatis Sr. told “The Midday Show” that he and his son plan to travel to several leagues throughout the Dominican Republic to explain their version of events to young ballplayers.
“There’s something that nobody will ever be able to take away: the grace with which Fernando plays the game,” Tatis Sr. said. “There’s no human being who will ever be able to take that away.”