San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin addressed Fernando Tatis Jr.'s 80-game suspension prior to Saturday's game against the Washington Nationals.
Speaking to reporters, Melvin said Tatis "feels remorseful" about the situation when the two spoke on the telephone.
Major League Baseball announced Friday that Tatis has been suspended for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. The 23-year-old shortstop tested positive for the anabolic steroid Clostebol.
In a statement released after his suspension was announced, Tatis said he "inadvertently took a medication to treat ringworm" that contained the banned substance.
Tatis initially appealed the positive test before withdrawing it to accept his suspension. The ban ensures he won't play at all in 2022.
The former All-Star began a rehab assignment with the Padres' Double-A affiliate on Sunday in anticipation of playing in the big leagues this season. He underwent wrist surgery in March to repair injuries that may have been suffered in a motorcycle crash in December.
Many Padres players emphasized that the team needed to forge ahead in the wake of Tatis' suspension as they chase a playoff spot in the National League.
"This is the second time we've been disappointed with him. You hope he grows up and learns from this and learns that it's about more than just him right now," pitcher Mike Clevinger said to reporters Friday. "I think we're going to be just fine. Look at this clubhouse. We really don't need anybody else. It'd be nice to have somebody else, but we don't need anybody else. We got everything we need right here."
Tatis has had injury woes throughout his career that have made him an erratic presence in San Diego's lineup. The Dominican star missed 78 games as a rookie in 2019 because of a back injury. He still finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting after posting a .969 OPS in 334 at-bats.
Shoulder issues caused Tatis to miss 32 games in 2021, but he still managed to lead the NL with 42 homers. He finished in the top four in NL MVP voting in each of the previous two seasons.
Prior to the start of last season, the Padres signed Tatis to a 14-year, $340 million contract extension. The deal is the longest in MLB history.
General manager A.J. Preller did add significant help to the Padres lineup prior to the trade deadline. The team acquired Juan Soto and Josh Bell from the Nationals in exchange for five players.
San Diego has had success in 2022 without Tatis available to play. The team enters Saturday with a 64-51 record, two games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers for the final playoff spot in the NL.