Jenrry Mejia delayed in Dominican Republic having identity checked

Jenrry Mejia pitches in a game against the

Jenrry Mejia pitches in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Sept. 24, 2012) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia must wait for the completion of an age and identity review before he can report to spring training. General manager Sandy Alderson said the process "could take awhile."

Mejia will work out at the team's complex in the Dominican Republic until his visa issue is resolved.

"We don't believe there's any specific reason for it," Alderson said Wednesday. "We think it was done on a random basis." Despite recent cases of forged identities, Alderson said he doesn't believe Mejia is seen as a suspect.

Let him play?

Johan Santana may yet have another hurdle if he intends to pitch for his native Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic: his own team.

Thanks to an exemption triggered by Santana's stint on the disabled list at the end of last season, the Mets will be allowed to block his participation in the tournament.

"Ultimately, he needs our permission to play," Alderson said. "What we're going to do is take a look at it over the next few days."

Even if the Mets grant Santana approval, another significant barrier stands in his way: successfully getting insured for the guaranteed $31 million remaining on his contract.

Fifth year too much

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Alderson said the Mets likely will stick with their current outfielders after missing out on Michael Bourn. He said the deal was held up by two critical factors: the team's hesitance to surrender a first-round draft choice and the addition of a fifth year.

Collins has to wait

While he praised lame-duck manager Terry Collins, principal owner Fred Wilpon said contract extension talks won't take place during the season.

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