Anthony Rieber Newsday columnist Anthony Rieber

Anthony Rieber has been at Newsday since Aug. 31, 1998 and in his current position since 2004.

Now we know why Jenrry Mejia never said he was sorry after he returned from his steroid suspension July 7.

He hadn't stopped using.

News Tuesday night that Mejia had been suspended for the second time this season for failing a drug test -- this time for 162 games -- dropped like a hammer on what was otherwise a pretty good day at Citi Field as the Mets moved to within a game of the Nationals in the NL East with a 4-0 win over the Padres.

Noah Syndergaard, who threw eight shutout innings, was perfect for the first six before Wil Venable led off the seventh with a single.

Before the game, people were talking about fun baseball stuff -- pennant races, Tyler Clippard's first day as a Met, David Wright's hopes for playing again this season, the shocking Troy Tulowitzki-for-Jose Reyes trade, what moves might still be to come before Friday.

The days leading up to the non-waiver trading deadline are some of the best on the baseball calendar.

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Then came the Mejia news about 45 minutes before first pitch. The ugly side of baseball returned to remind everyone that as much as MLB likes to portray the steroid era as over, there will always be players who will try to beat the system.

But there has never been a case like this. Mejia earned a place in the record book as the second player to be banned for 162 games, joining Alex Rodriguez. Mejia is the first to have failed a test for his 162.

It's unfathomable that Mejia was suspended less than a month after returning from an 80-game ban handed down April 11. That time, Mejia issued a statement saying that he had unknowingly taken a banned substance (a metabolite of Stanozolol).

"I can honestly say I have no idea how a banned substance ended up in my system," Mejia said in April.

I think we all have a pretty good idea now. Mejia is either the most reckless athlete on the planet or the unluckiest.


This time, Major League Baseball said Mejia tested positive for two drugs -- Stanozolol and Boldenone. As of Tuesday night, Mejia had not released a statement.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, who used words such as "shocked" and "incredulous" to describe his reaction, said he had not spoken to Mejia. Alderson said he "possibly" would do so in the future.

What is there to talk about? The only words Alderson should say to Mejia are "good" and "bye" when the suspension ends next year. In this case, two strikes should be enough for Mejia to be out, at least as far as the Mets are concerned.

"I wouldn't want to be that hasty today," Alderson said. "But when you just think about the total suspension, when he might be able to return, the commitment that that would require from us, it's something we're going to have to think about. Obviously, we're disappointed. We'll see where it goes."

Mejia has done enough damage to the Mets already. When they acquired Clippard on Monday from Oakland, part of the motivation was that Mejia would not be eligible for the postseason because of his first ban.

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Clippard, a former Nat, began his Mets career by saying of Washington, "They're beatable." Then the Nationals went out and got Jonathan Papelbon from the Phillies and still the Mets moved a game closer. Good stuff. Baseball stuff.

The Mets are headed for a fun ride, maybe all the way to October. Jenrry Mejia is headed home, his reputation in ruins, his promising career in doubt. What a sorry situation, apology or not.