Former New York Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia received conditional reinstatement from a lifetime drug suspension and is eligible to return to play in the 2019 season.
In February of 2016, Mejia became the first Major League Baseball player to be given a lifetime suspension under the league’s drug program after testing positive a third time. A year later he was given the right to apply to be reinstated.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on Friday said Mejia could take part in workouts that were non-public at team facilities following the break for the All-Star game and would be eligible for a rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues starting the middle of August.
Last year Manfred and Mejia met, after Mejia submitted is reinstatement application. In a prepared statement, Manfred said that Mejia had expressed regret for the poor choices he had made and assured the commissioner that if he were reinstated he would not break the drug program’s terms moving forward.
The statement concluded by saying due to the Mejia’s contrition, and commitment to follow the terms of the program going forward as well as the fact he will have spent nearly four straight years suspended with no pay, Manfred had made the decision to grant him a last chance to resume his pro career.
Mejia, who is 28, was the closer for the Mets during the 2014 season, but was suspended in April of 2015 for 80 games after testing positive for the drug stanozolol, which is popular amongst bodybuilders.
In July of 2015, he played in seven games for the Mets, but was suspended late that month for 162 games after testing positive again for stanozolol along with boldenone. He later tested positive a third time for boldenone.
Through a statement the players’ association released, Mejia said his time away from baseball has been long and difficult. It gave him time to contemplate his mistakes about both his positive tests for drugs and false allegations he made about MLB’s investigation into his drug testing.
The Mets signed the Dominican in 2007 and Mejia first played in the majors in 2010 and was the Mets closer during 2014. That season he posted 28 saves in 31 chances. For his career, Mejia is 9-14 with an ERA of 3.68, in 95 relief appearances and 18 starts.
The Mets released a statement that said the team appreciated Mejia’s regret and the commitment he has made to follow the rules of the drug program. His progress will be evaluated on the field and the team will assess its options over the coming months.