By: George Henry, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — New York Mets relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia was suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball on Saturday after testing positive for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol.
This is the fourth penalty for a positive Stanozolol test reported by MLB in less than a month, following Minnesota pitcher Ervin Santana, Seattle pitcher David Rollins and Atlanta pitcher Arodys Vizcaino.
Mejia began the season as New York’s closer, but he was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with posterior elbow inflammation, without having pitched in a game.
The 25-year-old Mejia released a statement through the players’ union saying he knows the rules and accepts his punishment, but “can honestly say I have no idea how a banned substance ended up in my system.”
Mejia apologized to the organization, his teammates, fans and family while also maintaining his innocence.
“I have been through a lot in my young career and missed time due to injury,” Mejia said. “I have worked way too hard to come back and get to where I am, so I would never knowingly put anything in my body that I thought could hold me out further.”
The Mets said in a statement that the team was disappointed when told of the positive test.
“We fully support MLB’s policy toward eliminating performance enhancing substances from the sport,” the Mets said. “As per the Joint Drug Program, we will have no further comment on this suspension.”
Mejia began 2014 as a starter but moved to the closer role about six weeks after Bobby Parnell tore an elbow ligament in the first game of the season. The right-hander from the Dominican Republic had 28 saves, 18 after the All-Star break to tie for second-most in the NL.
Parnell is expected to return next month.
New York manager Terry Collins said on Friday that Jeurys Familia is the team’s closer for now.
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