San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was suspended 80 games Friday for violating Major League Baseball's performance-enhancing drug policy, and now, general manager A.J. Preller is questioning the slugger's maturity.
"I think we're hoping that from the offseason to now, that there would be some maturity. And obviously with the news today, it's more of a pattern and something we've got to dig a little bit more into," Preller told reporters. "I'm sure he's very disappointed but at the end of the day, it's one thing to say it. You have to start by showing it with your actions."
"I think what we need to get to is a point in time we trust [him]. Over the course of the last six or seven months, that's been something that we haven't been really able to have there," Preller added, via ESPN's Jeff Passan.
"I think from our standpoint, obviously he's a great talent, he's a guy we have a lot of history with and do believe in, but these things only work when there's trust both ways.''
Tatis tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug Clostebol, according to Passan. He will miss the remainder of the 2022 season and will miss the beginning of the 2023 campaign while serving the suspension.
The 2021 All-Star also will not be allowed to compete for the Dominican Republic at the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
Tatis said in a statement that he took the drug as a mistake and is not appealing the ban:
"It turns out that I inadvertently took a medication to treat ringworm that contained Clostebol. 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.
"I want to apologize to Peter [Seidler], AJ [Preller], the entire Padres organization, my teammates, Major League Baseball and fans everywhere for my mistake. I have no excuse for my error, and I would never do anything to cheat or disrespect this game I love."
The 23-year-old hasn't played any games for the Padres this season and was on a rehab assignment with one of San Diego's minor league affiliates after recovering from wrist surgery stemming from a reported motorcycle accident.
Tatis emerged as a star in MLB when he broke onto the scene in 2019, finishing third in Rookie of the 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 during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He finished fourth in MVP voting and earned his first Silver Slugger Award.
Tatis went on to have 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.
Not having Tatis available for the postseason is a tough blow for the Padres, who entered Friday's game against 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 make a solid playoff run.