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Jenrry Mejia: Banned for Life


At this time last year, Jenrry Mejia was gearing up for the 2015 MLB season. Fresh off of a 2014 campaign in which he posted 9.4 strikes per inning and a 3.65 ERA, Mejia was projected to play an integral role for the 2015 New York Mets. However, he only took the mound seven times. Why? In April, MLB slapped an 80-game suspension on the right-hander for his first PED (performance-enhancing drug) violation.

Mejia finally returned on July 7, and was a valuable addition to a decent Mets bullpen. The team saw his return as a vital piece in their push for the playoffs. However, Mejia lasted just three weeks after his suspension. On July 29, he tested positive for PEDs once again and was banned for a full 162 games.

“Not surprisingly, there’s a tremendous amount of disappointment — I think to some extent anger, to some extent amazement — that this could happen so soon after a previous suspension was completed. And some sadness,” said Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson after the 162 game ban. “This is having a tremendously adverse effect on a very promising major league career, and that’s a shame. But the rules are the rules. We support the rules. This is the consequence of making bad choices.”

Fast-forward to 2016. Mejia has found himself in the same position once again. For the third time in 10 months, Mejia tested positive for PEDs. This time however, there will be no return to a major league mound. The MLB permanently suspended him, making Mejia the first player to ever be banned for using performance-enhancing substances.

The loss of Mejia is a blow to the Metropolitans. Mejia finished his career with a stat line of: 113 Games, 9-14, 183.1 IP, 182 K, 3.68 ERA, 1.48 WHIP.

“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 rose through the Mets’ farm system as the club’s 2009 and 2010 number one prospect, according to Baseball America. He was a promising prospect who was looked at as a future ace. But now he is expelled. Banished. Banned. Exiled. Whatever word you want to use, barring a victorious appeal, Mejia will never pitch in a major league park ever again.

The steroid epidemic seems to be mostly behind the MLB. The steroid era has ended, and cases such as Mejia are far less common. Baseball has become a pitcher’s game. There are no more than 73 home run seasons, there are no more Barry Bonds’, or Jose Canseco’s. Nonetheless, Commissioner Rob Manfred has just handed down the longest PED suspension in major league history: Life. This is surely a dark and disappointing day in baseball, as the league continues to try to clean up the national pastime.

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Jenrry Mejia: Banned for Life