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San Diego slugger suspended 80 games

On deck

Saturday night: Pirates (TBD) vs. Giants RHP Logan Webb (10-5)

Sunday: Pittsburgh at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

TV: Both weekend games can be seen on AT&T SportsNet

Radio: Both weekend games can be heard on TOONA 1430-AM & 99.7-FM

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — San Diego Padres dynamo Fernando Tatis Jr., one of the brightest, freshest stars in all of Major League Baseball, was suspended 80 games on Friday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

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.

The penalty imposed by MLB was effective immediately, meaning the shortstop — who had been out the entire season because of a broken wrist but was expected to return to the playoff-contending Padres next week — cannot play in the majors this year.

Tatis will miss the remaining 48 regular-season games this year and the first 32 next year. Any postseason games the Padres play this year would count toward the 80 that Tatis must sit out.

Tatis, who signed a $340 million, 14-year contract before the 2021 season, became one of the most prominent players ever penalized for performance-enhancing drugs, along with Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and others. MLB said the suspension also will knock Tatis of playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

Flashy at the plate and in the field, Tatis was an All-Star last season when he led the National League with 42 home runs. He was lined up to soon rejoin the Padres to boost a lineup that recently added star outfielder Juan Soto.

In a statement released by the players’ union, Tatis said he was “completely devastated” and apologized to Padres management, his teammates, MLB and “and fans everywhere for my mistake.”

“It turns out that I inadvertently took a medication to treat ringworm that contained Clostebol,” he said. “I should have used the resources available to me in order to ensure that no banned substances were in what I took. I failed to do so. I have no excuse for my error.”

That’s not good

NEW YORK — New York Mets starting infielders Jeff McNeil and Eduardo Escobar left Friday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies with injuries.

The Mets lost, 2-1.

The Mets said McNeil had a right thumb laceration and Escobar suffered tightness in his left side that will require an MRI.

McNeil tried to duck under the tag of Philadelphia’s Rhys Hoskins on a grounder in the second inning, and his head collided with the first baseman’s knee.

Escobar was pulled for pinch-hitter Luis Guillorme in the second. In the top half, Escobar had two balls carom off his glove at third for infield hits. McNeill is hitting .306 with seven homers and 46 RBIs.

Escobar is hitting .220 with 12 homers and 43 RBIs for the Mets.

Big crowd this year

NEW YORK — More than 3.1 million viewers watched Fox Sports’ broadcast of Major League Baseball’s second “Field of Dreams” game, about half of the audience for the 2021 game.

The Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 on Thursday night at a throwback ballpark in eastern Iowa, a short walk from the main field for the 1989 movie.

Fox Sports said Friday it was the most-watched regular-season baseball game on any network this year. The audience peaked at 3,464,000 views from 8:15 to 8:30 p.m.

The 2021 game, a wild 9-8 victory for the Chicago White Sox against the New York Yankees, attracted nearly 6 million viewers in what MLB said was the most-watched regular-season game on any network since 1998.

Major League Baseball has not committed to returning to the site.

Vet out for year

HOUSTON — Houston Astros outfielder Michael Brantley will miss the rest of the season after he had right shoulder surgery.

The 35-year-old Brantley hasn’t appeared in a big league game since June 26. He hit .288 with five homers and 26 RBIs in 64 games in the final season of a $32 million, two-year contract.

The loss of the sweet-swinging Brantley is a big blow for AL West-leading Houston. The five-time All-Star is a .298 hitter with 127 homers and 713 RBIs in 1,430 regular-season games.

Brantley also has enjoyed postseason success, batting .319 with nine RBIs during the Astros’ run to the World Series last year.

Giles released

ARLINGTON, Texas — Right-hander Ken Giles was designated for assignment Friday by the Seattle Mariners, who had signed the reliever last year when he was recovering from Tommy John surgery.

The Mariners knew Giles wouldn’t pitch in 2021 when they signed him to a $7 million, two-year contract. But he appeared in only five games this season, and had been on the injured list since July 9 because of right shoulder tightness.

With his rehab time almost up, and their bullpen in good shape, the Mariners really had no room on their active roster for the 31-year-old Giles.

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