MLB reinstates Mets reliever who was banned for life after three failed PED tests

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/teams/nym" data-ylk="slk:New York Mets">New York Mets</a> reliever Jenrry Mejia had been banned since February 2016. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
New York Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia had been banned since February 2016. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Jenrry Mejia’s lifetime ban from baseball is over. Major League Baseball has reinstated the 28-year-old former closer for the New York Mets. Mejia was banned in February 2016 after his third positive test for PEDs, meaning he’s served just over two years of his lifetime ban.

Banned no more

MLB released a statement on Friday to announce that Mejia would be reinstated from the restricted list in 2019, and revealed that Mejia applied for reinstatement and met with commissioner Rob Manfred.

          Major League Baseball announced today that Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. has ruled on New York Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia’s application for reinstatement from his permanent suspension under Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program (announced on February 12, 2016). Mejia will be allowed to resume participation in non-public workouts at Mets’ facilities following the 2018 All-Star break and will be eligible for a rehabilitation assignment with a Mets’ affiliate in mid-August. Provided that Mejia complies with certain conditions established by the Office of the Commissioner and agreed to by Mejia and the Players Association, Mejia will be reinstated from the Restricted List and will be eligible to resume all baseball activities beginning with 2019 Spring Training.

Commissioner Manfred issued the following statement regarding Mejia’s conditional reinstatement:
“During our meeting, Mr. Mejia expressed regret for poor choices he made in the past and assured me that, if reinstated, he would adhere to the terms of the Program going forward. In light of Mr. Mejia’s contrition, his commitment to comply with the Program in the future, and the fact that he will have already spent almost four consecutive years suspended without pay, I have decided to grant Mr. Mejia a final chance to resume his professional career.”

Performance enhancing drugs led to his ban

Mejia was the first player to ever get a lifetime ban for performance enhancing drugs under the current PED testing and penalty system. To get that ban, he had to test positive for PEDs three separate times. Mejia did it in the span of less than a year. He was first suspended in April 2015 for testing positive for the steroid Stanozolol and served 80 games. He came back to the Mets in July, and later that month received his second suspension, this time for testing positive for Stanozolol and another steroid, Boldenone. His second suspension was for 162 games, and while Mejia was serving that, he received his third suspension for Boldenone. That resulted his lifetime ban.

The MLB Players Association released a statement about the reinstatement on Mejia’s behalf.

I’ve had a long, difficult time away from the game to contemplate the mistakes I’ve made both with regard to my positive drug tests and also the false allegations I made about Major League Baseball’s investigation into my testing history. Baseball is my profession, my passion and my life, and for those mistakes I am truly sorry.

I would like to thank Commissioner Manfred for granting my reinstatement. I would also like to thank my family and friends for their support throughout this difficult period.

I have much work ahead, but look forward to earning back the trust and respect of the New York Mets, the fans and especially my teammates.

Mejia’s road back

Mejia last pitched in the majors on July 26, 2015. We don’t know what Mejia has been doing to stay in shape, but the Mets will soon find out what Mejia’s arm has left. He can start working out at the Mets spring training facility after the upcoming All-Star break, and will be eligible for a rehab assignment about a month later. However, that doesn’t mean he’ll actually start it then. Mejia most likely has some work to do to get his arm ready to pitch again.

Mejia has a career 3.68 ERA, with 162 strikeouts over 183.1 innings pitched. The Mets made him their closer in 2014, and he ended the year with 28 saves and a 3.65 ERA. Due to his suspensions, Mejia lost the closer role in 2015 and was replaced by Jeurys Familia.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter at @lizroscher.

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