The baseball world was rocked on Friday afternoon by the news of Padres All-Star Fernando Tatis Jr. being handed an 80-game suspension for violating MLB's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
The suspension officially seals Tatis' lost 2022 campaign, as he was yet to appear in a game this year after fracturing his wrist in an offseason motorcycle crash. The star shortstop/center fielder was on the comeback trail from the injury, but instead he'll be sidelined for the balance of this season and into the early portion of 2023.
For the Padres, the Tatis news obviously marked a crushing setback, soon after they had redoubled their championship aspirations by acquiring superstar outfielder Juan Soto and first baseman Josh Bell from the Washington Nationals. The plan was to pair two of the best young hitters in the game in Soto and Tatis -- along with veteran All-Star third baseman Manny Machado -- for the stretch run.
Instead, the Friars, who were a whopping 16 games behind the first-place Dodgers in the NL West after Friday's action, will have make their run without the services of Tatis. The Padres held the third wild-card spot heading into play on Saturday, just two games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Padres general manager AJ Preller didn't exactly conceal his "disappointment" in a statement responding to the development. Nor did at least a few of Tatis' teammates in Machado, and pitchers Mike Clevinger and Joe Musgrove.