SAN FRANCISCO - Jenrry Mejia reveled in the present. He spoke of the welcome he received from his teammates, and of the relief he felt upon his return from an 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs.
The future, he hopes, brings a chance for him to help the bullpen as the Mets attempt a push for the playoffs.
The past, however, he considered off limits.
So Mejia didn't apologize for his positive test -- at least not publicly -- nor did he answer questions about how a metabolite of stanozolol wound up in his system.
"That was in the past," Mejia said. "I don't want to talk too much about it. That makes me feel bad."
At the time of his suspension in April, Mejia issued a statement saying that he had unknowingly taken the banned drug. In his first public comments since the suspension, he declined to elaborate.
The Mets did not seem to have a problem with Mejia's lack of a mea culpa.
"He made a mistake," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. "He admitted that. He's paid a penalty. And whether I think he needs to express some public contrition or not, I know that privately he's done so. I've talked with him and as far as I'm concerned, it's over."
Earlier in the week, manager Terry Collins said he expected that Mejia would address his teammates in some form. And the reliever said he had spoken with a few of them, though he declined to reveal the nature of those conversations.
Collins also met with Mejia, though he said that talk focused on the future, not the past. The manager wouldn't say if Mejia was contrite or apologetic.
"It doesn't matter," Collins said. "It happened, you know? The guy's back. I'm not going to live three months ago. He's here to help. That's all we talked about, what he's going to do from here on out."
Mejia's loss on April 11 added to concerns about a bullpen that had already been gutted by injuries. Vic Black and Bobby Parnell began the season on the disabled list, and were soon joined by Jerry Blevins, Buddy Carlyle and Erik Goeddel. Nevertheless, the bullpen has emerged as one of the best in baseball. Their 2.79 bullpen ERA entering Tuesday night's game ranked third in the National League.
In Mejia's absence, Jeurys Familia has transformed himself into one the premier closers in the game. Familia's role will go unchanged with the return of Mejia, who converted 28 of 31 save chances a year ago. "He's been doing a good job," Mejia said. "I like what he's doing."
To make room for Mejia, the Mets optioned righthander Logan Verrett to Triple-A Las Vegas, even though he has a 0.73 ERA in six appearances. The club also moved Carlyle to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster.
Verrett still had minor-league options remaining, meaning the Mets could demote him without exposing him to waivers, thus making him the odd man out despite his performance.
Carlos Torres has a 4.50 ERA, the highest in the bullpen, but he would have been exposed to waivers.
"Right now, at this point in the season," Alderson said, "we don't want to lose any assets."
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