I always have to shake my head and cluck my teeth when I read about talented professional athletes waste their gifts and exit a sport before getting chance to reap the treasures of a productive career.  The latest to fall from grace is relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia of the New York Mets.  Mejia, a 26-year-old from the Dominican Republic, has been suspended from major league baseball permanently for his third strike of testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, or PEDs.

Mejia said, in an interview, that he is going to appeal the suspension.  “It is not like they say, Mejia was quoted in a local paper.  “I am sure that I did not use anything.  I will appeal…win or lose, I have faith.  I have to clear my name.”  Mejia went on to say, “…I will take this case to the bitter end.”

That may be, Jenrry, but the fact of the matter remains that you tested positive…not once, not twice, but THREE times for Boldernone, an anabolic steroid used for Androgen deficiency disorders, and Stanozolol, used to decrease pain and increased joint discomfort.  This probably stems from the fact that Mejia was recovering from right elbow surgery he had performed in July, 2013.  He appeared in 63 games in 2014, but then began experiencing discomfort in the same elbow.  In April, 2015, Mejia was placed on the disabled list because of right elbow inflammation.

The first suspension handed to Mejia was on April 11, 2015.  He was given an 80-game ban for a first offense.  Then, on July 28, he tested positive again and was suspended for 162 games.  That means Mejia would not have been able to pitch in the big leagues until July 28 of this year.  Even in the middle of the second suspension, Mejia was expected to be tendered a contract for whenever he returned.  Finally, last week, Mejia tested positive for the third time.  Now, he is banned for life.

It is a shame that Mejia and his representatives could not let the injury heal itself.  Now, after five pretty good years in the MLB, he is gone for good.  Mejia would have been arbitration-eligible after the 2017 season.  He made over $500,000 in salary for the 2015 season…now, he will make $0.

According to the collective bargaining agreement, Mejia will be able to apply for reinstatement after two years.  That will give MLB plenty of time to decide what they can do…since Mejia is the first major league player to receive a lifetime suspension.  Alex Rodriguez got a one-year ban; so, this will be uncharted territory for MLB to explore.

For now, though, Mejia probably just needs to concentrate on letting his elbow rest and, perhaps, begin a throwing program later in the year.  Let’s hope that whoever is handling him does it the correct and proper way.


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