PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Jenrry Mejia took his place in infamy Friday, when the Mets reliever became the first player suspended for life under baseball’s three-strikes-and you’re-out policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Mejia’s third positive PED test — this time for the anabolic steroid Boldenone — automatically triggered his permanent suspension.
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He joins the likes of Pete Rose, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and other players implicated in the Black Sox scandal on a list of players who have been banned for life.
“We were deeply disappointed to hear that Jenrry has again violated Major League Baseball’s joint drug prevention and treatment program,” the Mets said in a statement. “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 comment on this suspension.”
Mejia’s agency declined to comment, as did the players’ union, which in concert with MLB established the PED regulations in 2005 amid concerns of steroid use in the sport.
Mejia, 26, had already been serving a 162-game suspension for his second PED violation. He was not due to return until July.
In a year, Mejia can apply for reinstatement. But even if he’s successful, by rule he wouldn’t be eligible to return for at last two seasons, essentially ending what had once been a promising career.
Mejia broke in amid great fanfare as a 20-year-old in 2010, then missed all of 2011 following Tommy John surgery. But he seemed to have revived his career in 2014, when he thrived in his new role as the Mets’ closer.
Mejia posted a 3.65 ERA with 28 saves, punctuating them with a signature stomp that irked opponents. He was expected to reprise his role in 2015. But he was slapped with his first PED suspension last April, an 80-game ban for the use of Stanozolol, an anabolic steroid.
The reliever returned in July only to be suspended once more for Stanozolol and Boldenone.
The Mets could have cut ties with Mejia after his second suspension. Instead, team officials tendered Mejia a contract with the intent to welcome him back to the bullpen when his suspension ended in late July.