Minor league pitcher calls Tatis ‘cheater’ after monster HR

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

A San Francisco Giants minor leaguer called Fernando Tatis Jr. a “cheater” on Twitter after the suspended San Diego Padres superstar hit a mammoth home run Wednesday night in a Triple-A game while on a rehab assignment.

Kade McClure of the Sacramento River Cats responded to a tweet that included video of the homer at Sacramento’s Sutter Health Park by saying, “cheater hits a homerun on a rehab assignment during a steroid suspension.”

McClure deleted the tweet sometime Thursday afternoon. His tweet had received several responses from Padres fans defending Tatis and criticizing the pitcher’s high ERA.

Tatis is playing for the El Paso Chihuahuas on a rehab assignment while finishing the 80-game suspension he received Aug. 12 after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. He’ll be eligible to join the active roster on April 20.

Tatis was initially greeted with a mixture of cheers and boos after his homer off McClure, but the crowd mostly booed after he did his trademark stutter-step around third base.

At FanFest in February, Tatis said he has already dealt with negative fan reaction on the road during his career “and I’m definitely looking forward to that challenge” in what he said would be both a fun and emotional season.

The 24-year-old Tatis, one of the game’s most electrifying young players, missed all of last season. He was on the cusp of returning from left wrist surgery when he was suspended. He blamed his positive test on a cream he said he took for ringworm. He reportedly fractured his wrist in a motorbike accident in his native Dominican Republic in December 2021. The injury was diagnosed during his physical when he reported to spring training and he had surgery in March 2022.

A few weeks after the suspension was announced, Tatis had surgery on his troublesome left shoulder and also had a follow-up surgery on his left wrist.

An All-Star at shortstop in 2021 who has won two Silver Slugger Awards, Tatis will play right field when he’s activated. The Padres signed shortstop Xander Bogaerts to a $280 million, 11-year free agent contract in early December. Tatis will join a lineup that also includes Manny Machado and Juan Soto. The Padres have World Series aspirations after reaching the NL Championship Series last year.

Tatis brought a swagger to the Padres in his first three seasons. He unleashed an emphatic bat flip after hitting his second home run in an 11-9 win in Game 2 of the wild-card series against the Cardinals in 2020 and a photo of Tatis in that moment was on the cover of the video game MLB The Show ’21. After homering against Trevor Bauer at Dodger Stadium in April 2021, Tatis briefly covered his right eye with his right hand after rounding first base to troll Bauer, who pitched with one eye closed in a bit of bravado that spring training. Tatis hit an NL-high 42 homers that season.

McClure, 27, is in his seventh minor league season. He is 0-0 with a 7.20 ERA. He is with his second organization.

Yankees score runs in final three innings for 4-1 victory over Dodgers

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – Despite battling injuries all season, the New York Yankees are still managing to pick up victories.

With AL MVP Aaron Judge sidelined after injuring his foot on Saturday, the Yankees got strong pitching and were able to use a little bit of small ball to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 Sunday and take two of three games in the weekend series.

“Just a really good all-around effort. A lot of winning things were happening in that game,” manager Aaron Boone said.

New York plated runs in the seventh and eighth innings on soft-contract grounders before Anthony Volpe provided some insurance with a two-run homer in the ninth.

J.D. Martinez homered for the Dodgers, who dropped the final two games in the series.

Clay Holmes (4-2) pitched one inning to pick up the win, and Wandy Peralta got the last four outs for his fourth save.

It was a pitchers’ duel for six innings between the Yankees’ Domingo Germán and Dodgers’ Bobby Miller. The right-handers matched zeroes as the teams combined for only four hits in the first six innings.

Dodgers’ rookie Miller allowed only one hit in his six innings, becoming the first Dodgers’ pitcher since at least 1901 to allow one hit or fewer within his first three big league starts. The 24-year old right-hander struck out seven and walked two in his third start.

Germán went 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run and four hits, including Martinez’s solo shot to tie it at 1-all in the seventh. The right-hander has limited opponents to one run or fewer in four of his last six starts.

Jake Bauers – who was playing right field in place of Judge – scored the game’s first run in the seventh on Kyle Higashioka‘s broken-bat grounder to short.

Bauers got aboard with a base hit then advanced to third when Brusdar Graterol threw the ball away on Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s bunt.

After Martinez’s homer, the Yankees retook the lead in the eighth against Evan Phillips (1-1). Oswaldo Cabrera drove in Anthony Rizzo with the go-ahead run with a slow roller that second baseman Miguel Vargas could only throw to first.

“It not being hit well helps when the fielders have to move a little. That’s what you’re selling out for. Good job by the base runners there,” Boone said.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said both balls could not have been placed any better by the Yankees’ batters.

“I don’t think they had a chance on both balls. The base runners had such a good jump. They were jam shots,” Roberts said. “There were a lot of things we did as far as giving away a couple bases on the defensive side.”

Volpe had two hits after being mired in a 3-for-38 slump his last 11 games. He extended the lead by driving Caleb Ferguson’s fastball over the wall in left-center in the ninth. It was Volpe’s ninth homer, which is second among AL rookies.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence,” said Volpe after the Yankees took four of six on the road trip.


Martinez evened it in the bottom of the inning with a solo shot to left-center. It was his 10th homer in the last 21 games.

Martinez has 20 homers against the Yankees, his third-most against any club. He has 35 against Baltimore and 23 vs. Cleveland. He is four homers away from 300 for his career.


Miller – the 29th overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft – looked like he might have a short outing after throwing 27 pitches in the first inning. He struck out three but also walked two.

Miller retired seven straight between the third and fifth innings before Volpe lined a base hit to center field with two out in the fifth.

“It felt really good. Been working on my slider a lot lately.,” said Miller, who threw 86 pitches, including 39 sliders. “They know I have a good fastball so I have to have my other pitches working as well.”


Yankees: LHP Nestor Cortes is expected to be placed on the injured list Monday or Tuesday due to a shoulder issue. Manager Aaron Boone said Cortes has been slower to recover between starts and is likely to miss one or two starts. … LHP Carlos Rendon (left forearm strain) will face hitters on Wednesday.

Dodgers: OF Trayce Thompson was placed on the injured list with a left oblique strain. OF Johnny Deluca was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City.


Yankees: Return home for six games starting Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox. RHP Clarke Schmidt (2-5, 5.01 ERA) has gone at least five innings in six of his last eight starts.

Dodgers: Hit the road starting Tuesday against Cincinnati. RHP Tony Gonsolin (3-1, 1.77 ERA) has gone 3-0 in his last four starts.