SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres have replaced a planned Fernando Tatis Jr. bobblehead night with a Juan Soto T-shirt giveaway after the superstar shortstop was banned 80 games Friday following a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug.
Tatis, a 23-year-old sensation and one of the brightest stars in all of Major League Baseball, was on the cusp of returning to the Padres from a broken wrist that had sidelined him all season. He was on track to rejoin the team well before the Sept. 7 bobblehead night — until the positive test.
Instead, the Padres will offer fans shirts in the club’s City Connect color scheme with Soto’s name and No. 22 on the back before they play the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team announced the change Tuesday.
Soto, also 23 and one of baseball’s most well-known young faces, was acquired from the Washington Nationals in a blockbuster deadline deal Aug. 2.
The Padres’ City Connect jerseys, which they wear for Friday night home games, feature vivid colors that celebrate the cross-border culture of San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico.
MLB said Tatis tested positive for Clostebol, an anabolic steroid. Tatis said he accidentally took a medication to treat ringworm that contained the banned substance.
Several teammates were critical of Tatis following Friday’s announcement, including pitcher Mike Clevinger, who talked about being “disappointed” in Tatis and hoping the shortstop realizes “it’s about more than just him right now.”