Jenrry Mejia first player to get permanent ban for 3rd positive PED test
NEW YORK — Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia made baseball history becoming the first player to be permanently suspended by Major League Baseball after testing positive for a performance-enhancing material.
MLB said Mejia tested positive for boldenone, which sportsmen have used to improve muscle mass and once was popular for use in horse racing, and the right-hander also is permanently suspended from playing minor league baseball.
It marked his third positive PED evaluation in the last year, tripping the life expulsion.
26, Mejia, may apply to commissioner Rob Manfred for reinstatement in a single year. If reinstated, he would need to sit out a minimum of a couple of years before having the capacity to pitch in the majors. When an application is made and denied, Mejia could ask baseball’s arbitrator to end the ban, claiming the penalty is without “just cause.” The arbitrator cannot reduce the ban to less than a couple of years.
Mejia told Dominican sports journalist Hector Gomez in Spanish: “It is not like they say. I am sure that I didn’t use anything.”
Mejia was beginning with Licey in the Dominican Republic during winter ball.
MLB suspensions could be honored in leagues in other states including Japan, South Korea and Mexico, but that’s the conclusion of each league. Nonetheless, suspended players are permitted to compete in winter leagues, including in Mejia’s native Dominican Republic. Independent leagues are not compelled to honor MLB suspensions but may decide to do so.
Mejia becomes the first major or minor league player to get a long-term suspension under MLB’s drug plan. Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, then in the minor leagues, was suspended several times for drugs of abuse from 200305 but was allowed to return each time. During a time when there wasn’t a drug arrangement, Steve Howe was suspended for life by Commissioner Fay Vincent in 1992 after the pitcher’s seventh drug- or alcohol-related event. Arbitrator George Nicolau said physicians concluded Howe suffered from attention deficit hyperactive disorder and cut the suspension to time served, which was 119 days.
“We fully support MLB’s policy toward eliminating performance-enhancing substances from the sport. As per the Joint Drug Program, we will have no further opinion on this full suspension.”
Mejia initially was given an 80-game suspension in April for a positive evaluation for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid. In three weeks, July and seven appearances into his return with the Mets, he was suspended 162 games for testing positive for stanozolol and boldenone. The second positive test actually occurred while Mejia was still serving the first suspension.
The Mets nonetheless decided to tender Mejia a contract in December for the 2016 season. Mets officials reasoned that despite Mejia letting the team down, he was worth bringing back to the organization because he would receive only a prorated part of his wages — less than $1 million — and be eligible for the postseason.
Mejia had 99 games left to serve on his second suspension and had been due to return to the Mets in late July.