Fernando Tatis Jr. and his dad have opened up about how the Padres star tested positive for steroids. Does the story add up?

Whenever baseball players make the wrong decision to use a banned substance – knowingly or unknowingly – they immediately sign up to face a series of tougher decisions. First of all: how do you explain the positive test, and what exactly do you confess?

After a positive test for the anabolic steroid clostebol ended his 2022 season before it started – and rocked a sport waiting for his return to the starry world San Diego PadresFernando Tatis Jr. went with “negligence”. He said in a statement released by the union on Friday evening that he “inadvertently took medication to treat ringworm.” His father, former major league player Fernando Tatis Sr., explained that explanation on Monday.telling Dominican Republic media that Tatis Jr. contracted a fungal neck infection from a haircut and used a spray called Trofobol to treat it.

Recklessness will be no comfort to the Padres, who signed Tatis Jr. to a 14-year, $340 million deal about 19 months ago. Especially since it’s becoming a trend for the 23-year-old, who was out with a wrist injury likely sustained in a motorcycle accident (or accidents), and San Diego baseball operations president AJ Preller spoke candidly about the lack of trust between the team and the player. But as an excuse for using steroids, dealing with careless use of medicine is quite simple. It avoids one of the main pitfalls that former major leaguers like Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and Melky Cabrera have fallen into – lying about it, blaming someone else or even creating entire fake websites to cover their tracks.

There’s no easy path to good graces with teammates or fans, but accepting responsibility, as Tatis Jr. did, is usually the most direct route to forgiveness.

As long as you trust the story.

This can be difficult to analyze when unknown drugs, fungal infections and the nuances of drug testing are involved. We asked anti-doping expert Oliver Catlin, Chairman of the Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG), to help us understand the reported sequence of events that led to Tatis Jr’s 80-match suspension.

What is clostebol, the steroid that Tatis Jr. tested positive for?

Tatis Jr.’s statement acknowledged a mistake, though it raised further questions about how he found himself able to do so. His father’s explanation … took on a more miffed tone, lambasting MLB for suspending his son for a substance he called insignificant.

“It’s a disaster what happened, not just for Jr., but for all of baseball. There are millions of fans who are going to stop watching baseball now,” Tatis Sr. said, relayed by ESPN. He went on to say that “what came out positive in Jr.’s body is something that doesn’t give you strength.”

This claim that millions of fans are turning away from the sport is hyperbolic and wildly implausible, but its larger point focuses on whether clostebol, the steroid that appeared in Tatis Jr.’s sample, is in made powerful enough to warrant suspension and the black mark. in the name of his son. First, clostebol is directly listed as a banned anabolic steroid in the MLB Joint Drug Agreement, so having it in your system is going to get you suspended. There is no room for confusion.

Now, Tatis Sr. is not wrong to say that its effects are minor compared to other performance-enhancing drugs. Catlin said clostebol is “generally considered a weak anabolic steroid.”

“Frankly, it wouldn’t make much sense to use it if you were really trying to build muscle, because there are much more potent and effective anabolic steroids that are readily available,” Catlin told Yahoo Sports. “Oral turinabol, for example, which is also frequently found in MLB, is a much more potent drug and would be a more likely anabolic steroid to use.”

A Medication Guide for Bodybuilders said “if you’re looking to pack heaps of muscle mass on your body, clostebol isn’t the steroid for you” but called it ideal for building “moderate amounts of lean muscle , while burning fat and improving athletic performance.

Other notable baseball players to have tested positive for clostebol are relatively lightweight infielders Dee Strange-Gordon and Freddy Galvis.

Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for the anabolic steroid clostebol.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for the anabolic steroid clostebol. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Has Tatis Jr. really improved his performance?

A positive PED test is reminiscent of tainted sluggers of the 1990s and could have fans questioning the historic start of Tatis Jr.’s career. He paced the National League with 42 homers en route to a third-place NL MVP finish in 2021, and no MLB player has ever matched his 81 home runs and 52 stolen bases in his first 300 career games. Tatis Jr., for the record, is just 273 games into his career and will stay there until May 2023.

During the same interview in the Dominican Republic, Tatis Sr. repeatedly called the positive test “minor” and said the incident could have been handled better by MLB without delving into what it meant. An educated guess at his involvement: maybe Tatis Jr. didn’t have very high levels of clostebol in his body. Tatis Jr., one might think, has his reputation forever tainted for a clear transgression, yes, but one that did not materially affect his body or potential performance.

Catlin noted that there is no lower detection threshold for steroids in sports drug testing programs.

“Any amount found may result in a positive result,” Catlin said. “These days labs are easily able to detect down to low levels of picograms, i.e. parts per trillion. Incredibly small amounts could have caused it to test positive.

He offered a typical grain of salt for comparison, which weighs 58.5 micrograms – parts per millionnot a trillion.

“So divide a grain of salt a million times and then divide it by 10 and that’s what we can detect in urine these days in sports drug testing,” Catlin said, noting that research has pointed to this as a reason for the increased risk of inadvertent doping. “The sensitivity of testing these days is almost unfathomable.”

Does the story of Fernando Tatis Jr. and ringworm hold water?

Beneath any discussion of the drug and its importance is the issue of how Tatis Jr. ended up taking it in the first place. On the contrary, Tatis Jr.’s admission that he accidentally used the drug while trying to treat ringworm raised more questions than it answered.

First things first: Ringworm is a fungal infection that causes an itchy, circular rash. according to the Mayo Clinic. It has nothing to do with an actual worm.

Catlin said no doctor would prescribe clostebol to treat ringworm. It’s a steroid, not an antifungal drug. There was speculation that Tatis Jr. created a fake excuse after finding results online related to clobetasol of the same namebut Catlin said the drug will also exacerbate ringworm, not treat it.

The more detailed explanation from Tatis Sr. Aerosol Trofobol in the picture and more realistically explains the positive test. ESPN also reported that Tatis Jr.’s mother posted a photo of her alleged ringworm infection on her Instagram account.

Between the additional detail and the photo, we can probably pass any idea that Tatis Jr. concocted ringworm as a false explanation. That’s not to say treating him the way he did was a good idea. Catlin said Trofobol was also an “unusual product to treat ringworm” that would be more commonly used on burns. Steroids are often used to treat burns, and Trofobol combines clostebol with an antibiotic (which also wouldn’t help when it comes to fungus).

Reading Tatis Sr.’s account, Catlin noticed there was no mention of a doctor and speculated that the costly mistake may have happened by using the spray without seeing a medical professional. .

“Why would he take medicine that was not provided by a doctor? Maybe they didn’t hesitate to wonder if a spray they had might contain a banned drug and just tried it to see if it would help his condition? Catline said. “That I can understand.”

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