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Added February 15th, 2016 by Ian
MLB

New York Mets’ pitcher Jenrry Mejia suspended for life

You don’t often see professional athletes receiving lifetime bans from their respective sport, but that’s not the case with New York Mets’ pitcher Jenrry Mejia. In fact, the right-handed reliever is the very first player to be nailed with a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball due to the league’s current drug agreement with the players’ association. Meija was banned on February 12th after failing a performance-enhancing drug test for the third time in his career.

According to MLB, Mejia’s test showed that he had traces of an anabolic steroid named Boldenone in his system. The drug used to be used in horse racing and some athletes take it as way to increase their muscle mass. The 26-year-old was used as the squad’s closing pitcher in the 2014 season. He didn’t have the chance to continue that role last year since he was handed an 80-game suspension on April 11th for failing a drug test. Mejia tested positive for Stanozolol at the time, which is a drug often used by bodybuilders.

When being informed of his suspension last year the pitcher told the media, “I can honestly say I have no idea how a banned substance ended up in my system.” Mejia was back with the Mets by July 12, 2015 and pitched in a total of seven games before being suspended again. This time he was dealt a 162-game (one full season) ban on July 28th following a positive drug test for Boldenone and Stanozolol. Sandy Alderson, the Mets’ general manager, said last year he was amazed, disappointed and angry that his pitcher could fail a drug test right after rejoining the team.

The Mets told the media they were very disappointed with Meija’s latest suspension while the Major League Baseball Players’ Association declined to make a statement and Mejia’s agents added that their client didn’t have any comment. MLB and the players’ association agreed back in 2005 that any player who failed three drug tests should be banned for life from the league. The longest suspensions up until now have been 162 games for Mejia last year and Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees in 2014. MLB originally gave Rodriguez 211 games, but it was reduced by an arbitrator.

The current rules allow Mejia to ask MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to reinstate him after a year. Manfred has the power to allow the pitcher to rejoin his team, but the earliest he’d be allowed to play again would be the 2018 campaign. This means Mejia will miss at least two years of baseball. If Manfred rejects Mejia’s application then Mejia is entitled to take his case to an independent arbitrator. However, the arbitrator doesn’t have the power to reduce the suspension to less than two seasons.

Outfielder Josh Hamilton was suspended a few times for PED between 2003 and 2005 while in the minor leagues, but was given permission to return to the game. Back in 1992 pitcher Steve Howe was banned for life for substance abuse after seven instances. However, there was no MLB drug policy in place then. An arbitrator named George Nicolau stated that Howe had Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and the suspension was lifted after just 119 days.

Mejia, who hails from the Dominican Republic, was signed in 2007 by the Mets. He broke into the lineup three years later. He saved 28 out of 31 games in 2014 as the team’s closer. Overall, he has a record of 9-14 with 28 saves and an earned-run-average of 3.68 ERA in 113 games. He was paid just $496,311 last year from a salary of $2,595 million due to his suspension. He’s set to make $2.47 million this season, but will forfeit all of it.

 
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