Fernando Tatis Jr. meets with 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 have spoken face to face since the star shortstop received his 80-game suspension last week.

Details of that meeting, which took place away from Petco Park, were kept private. It is expected that Tatis will meet with other members of the organization in the coming days.

Tatis received his ban 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 inadvertently took a medication to treat ringworm that contained the banned substance, and he apologized to his teammates, fans and the organization.

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

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

“He’s devastated,” Profar said.

Profar added: “I’m talking to him every day, and he’s feeling very bad. Everyone is talking bad, but that’s how it is in the world. You make one mistake, and everyone wants to crucify you. But not me. I’m there to support him and get him through this and get him back on the field whenever he’s eligible to come back.”

Tatis will miss the remainder of the season and any games the Padres play in the postseason as a result of the ban. He won’t be eligible to return until next season, and there are a number of questions that must be answered in the interim — namely: What are the next steps for Tatis?

At some point, Tatis will join the team, probably next Spring Training. Tatis would be eligible to participate in camp next spring before he serves the remaining games on his suspension to start the season.

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

Right-hander Joe Musgrove was quick to note that the 2022 Padres have “moved on” from the news, and their focus is squarely 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 our teammate, still. He’s going to be in our clubhouse. We’re going to have to find a way to get on the same page and move past this. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but as the time comes, it’ll be a little clearer.”

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