San Diego Padres fans heading to the Arizona Diamondbacks game on Sept. 7 were expecting to get free Fernando Tatis Jr. bobbleheads, but after he was suspended for 80 games for a positive drug test last Friday, the team decided to switch the giveaway.
Instead of a bobblehead, the first 35,000 fans to arrive at Petco Park will receive a Juan Soto City Connect shirt, which is arguably not a bad trade-off because it's a pretty sweet design and Soto is a solid new addition to the team. However, the change of plans does highlight the unfortunate situation, which Tatis described as a mistake.
The shortstop is a player who Padres fans have been eager to see on the field again since a great 2021 season in which he registered a league-best 42 home runs. However, he has spent the last few months recovering from a wrist fracture he suffered during the offseason. Tatis underwent surgery in March and has been on rehab assignment. The hope was for him to return sometime in August, but that will no longer be the case.
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On Aug. 13, MLB announced Tatis' suspension after testing positive for Clostebol, which the league describes as a banned performance-enhancing substance. Tatis released a statement apologizing and saying he inadvertently took a medication to treat ringworm that happened to contain the banned substance.
"I am completely devastated. There is nowhere else in the world I would rather be than on the field competing with my teammates," he said. "After initially appealing the suspension, I have realized that my mistake was the cause of this result, and for that reason I have decided to start serving my suspension immediately. I look forward to rejoining my teammates on the field in 2023."
His suspension was effective immediately and without pay, meaning he is set to miss the rest of this season and the beginning of the next.