Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr. offers emotional apology after PED suspension, will undergo shoulder surgery: 'I have failed'

Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr. offers emotional apology after PED suspension, will undergo shoulder surgery: 'I have failed'

It’s been a humbling week for star Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who gave a long apology in the Padres dugout ahead of San Diego’s bout with the Cleveland Guardians.

Tatis, who was suspended 80 games for testing positive for a banned substance and subsequently tried to explain the positive test with ringworm and a haircut, sat surrounded by reporters and apologized to seemingly everyone for the indiscretion that will cost the Padres an entire season of their $340 million star.

“There is no one else to blame but myself. I made a mistake,” Tatis said in his statement.

I’m truly sorry. I have let so many people down. I have lost so much love from people. I have failed. I’m going to remember what this feels like, and I’m not going to put myself in this position ever again. I know I have a lot of love that I have to recover. I have a lot of work to do, it will be a very long process. I’m learning, I’m maturing.

Maturity has been the hot-button issue for Tatis and the Padres recently, with the suspension coming on the heels of what seemed like the final stages of recovery from a motorcycle accident that fractured his wrist in the offseason.

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Only 23, Tatis became a firebrand and ambassador for the game of baseball in the first three years of his career, posting a .282/.364/.611 slashline in 2021 along with 42 home runs after notching a 14-year, $340 million contract. The Padres, for their part, are in the midst of an earnest World Series push, having traded for Juan Soto at the trade deadline to pair him with Manny Machado, who is having an MVP-caliber season.

While Tatis was expected to be a big part of the Big 3, the Dynamic Duo will have to do instead for the time being.

I have failed the front office, the San Diego Padres, [owner] Peter Seidler, [GM] A.J. Preller. I have failed … this city. I have failed my country. I have failed my family. Parents. I’m really sorry for mistakes.

This is the most public apology Tatis has made, with the weekend being spent apologizing to the team. After criticisms from some of his teammates, including Mike Clevinger and Wil Myers, Tatis met with Preller over the weekend and there was a players-only meeting in which Tatis addressed his teammates.

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When asked if it was helpful, first-year manager Bob Melvin said, per 97.3 The Fan: “Very. So I did talk to him after he talked to the team. He didn’t need to come in, but he did. And I think — the look on his face was — I think a lot of relief. The hardest part was gonna be talking to his teammates … I thought it went really well. He was open, he was honest. And now it’s just time to move forward.”

The Padres have a lot of work to do. Since Soto and Josh Bell joined the club, they’re 8-10 (with the caveat of a five-game losing streak that started the second game they were in the lineup). While they have one of the best rosters in baseball on paper, they’ll have to prove they can run with the MLB-best Dodgers, who they’re 17.5 games back of as of Tuesday.

They’ll have to do so without Tatis, who won’t see the field until next season. Despite the initial bumps immediately following his suspension, the Padres seem hopeful this will be water under the bridge soon. And while Tatis will undoubtedly have to endure some jeers from fans upon his return next year, the organization seems optimistic he’ll learn something from this process.

“It’s nice to have closure,” Melvin said.