A bad haircut might have been the genesis of San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. testing positive for a banned substance.
"What involves him is a steroid that contains a spray called trofobol," Fernando Tatis Sr. said of his son, per MLB insider Héctor Gómez. "... He got a fungus due to a haircut. His mistake was not reading what it contains, which is what apparently makes him guilty of something totally unknown."
Héctor Gómez @hgomez27
Fernando Tatis Sr: "It was a mistake that could have been handled differently, destroy the image of a player for such a small thing, for a situation like this. Is a catastrophe not just for Tatis Jr, but for all baseball. There’s millions of fans that will stop watching baseball"
The younger Tatis said he used a medication that contained Clostebol to treat ringworm.
Tatis' 80-game suspension will leave him unavailable for the remainder of the 2022 season and the start of the 2023 campaign.
The 23-year-old already saw his 2022 debut delayed indefinitely after undergoing wrist surgery to repair an injury that may have resulted from a motorcycle accident.
General manager A.J. Preller and starting pitcher Mike Clevinger didn't mince words in the wake of Tatis' suspension, which appears to have exposed an existing level of frustration with the young shortstop.
"That's his story," Preller told reporters in reference to Tatis' explanation.
The GM also indicated the team could further scrutinize the circumstances of Tatis' offseason wrist injury:
"We'll start digging into the shoulder and the wrist. We'll look a little bit more into that now because we'll have some more time to have some conversations there. And yeah, I think what we need to get to is a point in time where we trust [each other]. Over the course of the last six or seven months, I think that's been something that we haven't really been able to have there."
Preller also alluded to a breakdown in trust between the two parties:
In general, this was a shockingly forthright way for a team official to speak about a player who's positioned as the future of the franchise. This is only the second year of Tatis' 14-year, $340 million extension with San Diego.
When news of the wrist injury first surfaced in March, some wondered whether the Padres had grounds to void Tatis' contract. They didn't, with one obvious reason being there was no reason to risk antagonizing the two-time Silver Slugger winner.
There's nothing to indicate San Diego is already at a point where it has buyer's remorse and would prefer to move Tatis, but Preller's comments were both damning and potentially telling as to how the organization has shifted.
Whatever the reason behind the positive test, the outcome remains the same for Tatis and the Padres. It's clear he has some work ahead to repair his relationship with the team.