Fernando Tatis Jr. meet AJ Preller

SAN DIEGO — Padres president of baseball operations AJ Preller met with Fernando Tatis Jr. on Thursday, sources said, marking the first time the two spoke face-to-face since the star’s shortstop last week’s suspension from got 80 games.

Details of that meeting, which took place outside Petco Park, were kept private. Tatis is expected to meet other members of the organization in the coming days.

Tatis received his suspension after testing positive for Clostebol, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. In a statement last week, Tatis said he accidentally took a ringworm drug that contained the banned substance, and he apologized to his teammates, fans and the organization.

Preller was with the team on his recent road trip through Miami and Washington. Thursday’s game against the Nationals was the Padres’ first in San Diego since the news of Tatis’ suspension.

It remains unclear how and when Tatis could formally address his teammates. Leftfielder Jurickson Profar has encouraged Tatis to come to the stadium and talk to the team in the hours before an upcoming game. Profar, one of Tatis’s closest friends, says he has been in regular contact with Tatis since the suspension was announced.

“He is devastated,” Profar said.

Profar added: “I talk to him every day and he feels very bad. Everyone talks bad, but that’s the way it is in the world. You make one mistake and everyone wants to crucify you. But not me. I’m here to kill him. support him and get him through this and get him back on the field when he’s eligible to come back.”

As a result of the suspension, Tatis will miss the remainder of the season and all games the Padres play in the postseason. He won’t be eligible to return until next season, and there are some questions that need to be answered in the meantime, namely: what are the next steps for Tatis?

At some point, Tatis will rejoin the team, probably next Spring Training. Tatis would be eligible to join the camp next spring before sitting out the remaining games after his suspension to start the season.

“I don’t know,” Profar said, when asked how the team would react to Tatis’ return. “For me, I’m going to welcome him with open arms.”

Right-handed Joe Musgrove was quick to comment that the 2022 Padres have “moved on” from the news, and their focus is entirely on the National League playoff race. As for Tatis’ eventual return?

“A lot of things between now and then will dictate that,” Musgrove said. “But he’s still our teammate. He’ll be in our clubhouse. We’ll have to find a way to get on the same page and get past this. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but when the time comes, it be a little clearer.”

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