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Mets' Jenrry Mejia suspended 162 games after second positive test for PEDs

Jenrry Mejia #58 of the New York Mets

Jenrry Mejia #58 of the New York Mets walks to the dugout after the eighth inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field on Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Jenrry Mejia carved his own ignominious place in baseball history Tuesday, when the Mets reliever became the first player under the joint drug agreement to be hit with a steroids suspension twice in the same season.

Mejia was suspended for 162 games, the penalty for a second PED offense, which came just three weeks after returning from the 80-game sanction he earned in April.

Mejia's latest ban tied Alex Rodriguez for the longest PED suspension ever handed down by baseball. A third offense would lead to a lifetime ban for the pitcher, whose rapid ascent as the Mets' closer last season has been matched only by his hasty descent.

An incredulous general manager Sandy Alderson used words such as "anger," "sadness" and "disappointment" not long after word came out about Mejia's suspension.

Alderson shared his "amazement, that this could happen so soon after a previous suspension was completed." He referred to Mejia's suspension having a "tremendously adverse effect on a very promising major-league career."

Mejia, 25, had not allowed a run in his only seven appearances this season, all after his reinstatement July 7.

Manager Terry Collins informed the Mets in the clubhouse just before the team's 4-0 win over the Padres. The news stunned the room.

"I love him as a player, I love him as a person," said Collins, who was "extremely, extremely disappointed in what's happened."

Upon his return from his first suspension, Mejia apologized to teammates, including Michael Cuddyer. Just three weeks later, he had pointed words for the former closer.

"It's a choice," said Cuddyer, who doesn't buy into the "mistake" thing. "It's a choice . . . You definitely feel let down. I would say there's a bit of anger in there."

Reliever Bobby Parnell called baseball a "sacred game" and likened Mejia's violations to breaking "a sacred rule."

Mejia's punishment cast doubt about his future in the organization. The righthander is not a free agent until 2019, but the Mets could balk at Mejia's price tag in arbitration. The suspensions will cost Mejia much of the $2.6 million he was slated to make this season.

Also, Mejia won't be eligible to pitch for the Mets until next July, assuming that the club doesn't sever ties by non-tendering him first.

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

Mejia was not available for comment and his agents had no plans to issue a statement. The players' association also had no statement.

Mejia tested positive for Stanozolol and Boldenone. He is the first player to be handed a 162-game suspension for a second violation since the joint drug agreement was beefed up last year with tougher sanctions.

The Mets received word Monday from MLB that a second ban could be possible.

At that point, Alderson said that the Mets had already been putting the finishing touches on their trade with the Athletics for Tyler Clippard.

Alderson called the timing of the Tyler Clippard trade "coincidental," with the Mets already in the market for relief help.

In particular, the Mets gravitated toward Clippard's playoff experience.

Alderson could not disclose when Mejia tested positive, nor could he speak to Mejia's motivation.

"I honestly don't know whether there was motivation, inattention, I don't know," Alderson said. "You don't want to indict someone without all the facts. I just can't imagine what was involved."

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