Just days after being placed on the disabled list with elbow inflammation, Mets closer Jenrry Mejia has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for Stanozolol. The drug, which violates Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, is the same substance that Twins pitcher Ervin Santana and Braves pitcher Arodys Vizcaíno had been suspended for in early April.
“I know the rules are the rules and I will accept my punishment, but I can honestly say I have no idea how a banned substance ended up in my system,” Mejia said in a statement. “I have been through a lot in my young career and missed time due to injury. 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.”
After struggling through injury after injury, including Tommy John surgery in 2011, the 25-year-old Mejia, formerly a starter, was moved to the bullpen in 2014 to replace injured closer Bobby Parnell. He owned the role, saving 28 games in 31 opportunities and limiting batters to a .265 average.
Mejia, poised to continue his dominant stretch in 2015, was unavailable on Opening Day, and it was later revealed that he had been suffering from elbow stiffness. The stiffness may have explained the troublesome showing that Mejia produced in Spring Training, where he suffered from a 5.91 ERA in nine appearances. He was placed on the disabled list the next day after undergoing an MRI.
“I’m sorry to the Mets organization, my teammates and the fans, as well as my family,” Mejia concluded.
Jeurys Familia, acting as the closer in place of the injured Mejia, will continue to get save chances until the return of Parnell.