San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was suspended for 80 games for violating MLB's performance-enhancing substance policy. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 24 (UPI) -- San Diego Padres star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who was suspended for 80 games earlier this month after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, said he plans to regain trust from teammates and fans en route to a baseball comeback.
Tatis spoke to reporters about his suspension Tuesday at Petco Park in San Diego. The three-year veteran spoke for about 20 minutes and said he "blames" himself, but stuck by an original claim that the presence of the substance, Clostebol, surfaced because it was in a medication he used to treat a skin condition.
Previous positive test results for Clostebol have led other players to suspended by MLB, due to the anabolic-androgenic steroid's presence on the league's banned substance list.
"There's no excuses," Tatis told reporters. "There's no excuses. I need to do a way better job on what is going inside my body. There's no excuse for these actions."
Once held in the highest regard as one of the faces of baseball's next generation of talent, Tatis now is the target of criticism from fans and other players.
"I was a fan," Tatis said. "I grew up watching this game. And if my favorite player would've done something like I've done, I would've felt the same way. I would've felt disappointed. I would've felt let down.
"I truly understand how they feel. But one thing that I'm gonna make sure is that when I come back, I gain their trust again."
Padres players Mike Clevinger and Manny Machado were among those to criticize Tatis when his suspension was announced. Clevinger said at the time that he hopes Tatis "grows up."
Machado told reporters Tuesday that the team plans to "move past" the incident and Padres players will "back each other up." He also said that he thinks Tatis has learned from his mistakes.
Tatis said he found out about his suspension last month and considered an appeal, but changed his mind. He later met with several members of the Padres front office and spoke to teammates Tuesday in the Petco Park home clubhouse. He said he received "a lot of tough love" in those meetings.
"I have seen how my dreams have turned into my worst nightmares," Tatis told reporters.
"There's no other one to blame than myself. I haven't made the right decisions these past few weeks, month, even starting in the beginning of the year. I have made a mistake, and I regret every single step I have taken in these days. But there's a long way going forward. There's a very long way going forward.
"I'm gonna remember how this feels, and I'm gonna make myself not ever be in this position ever again. I know I have a lot of love that I have to gain back. I have a lot of work to do."
Tatis, 23, signed a 14-year, $340 million contract with the Padres in February 2021. The 2021 All-Star hit a National League-high 42 home runs and collected 97 RBIs and 25 stolen bases in 130 games last season. He also hit .282 in 2021.
He dealt with a back injury in 2019 and missed more games in 2021 due to a shoulder injury. He also was injured in a December motorcycle accident and said Tuesday that he plans to undergo shoulder surgery. Tatis will be allowed to participate in spring training for next season, if healthy, despite his suspended status.
The Cleveland Guardians beat the Padres 3-1 on Tuesday in San Diego. The Padres will next host the Guardians in the final game of the series at 1:10 p.m. PDT Wednesday at Petco Park.