MLB surprisingly reverses Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia's lifetime ban

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The New York Mets called up pitcher Jenrry Mejia when he was just 20 years old back in 2010. That year, he logged 33 appearances (three starts) and posted a 4.62 ERA, allowing 46 hits while striking out 22 in 39.0 innings.

He then missed the entire 2011 season as the result of Tommy John surgery, robbing him of the chance to improve on his rookie campaign.

When he returned, he battled more injuries and split time between the minors and Majors in 2012 and 2013. Mejia got his big break in 2014 when he emerged as a legitimate MLB closer, saving 28 games while posting a 6-6 record and 3.65 ERA in 93.2 innings out of the ‘pen.

However, he allowed 98 hits in 93.2 innings. While he also struck out 98 batters, a clear improvement in that department over his first few stints with the club, he didn’t seem to possess the “un-hittable” factor that teams look for in their closers.

Another year in the Big Leagues could have corrected that. But, he robbed himself of that chance.

In April 2015, Mejia was suspended for 80 games following a positive test for stanozolol, a banned PED typically used by bodybuilders. After returning for seven games after serving the suspension, he was suspended 162 games for using stanozolol and boldenone.

Then, unbelievably, he tested positive again after the season-long suspension, that time using boldenone once again.

As a result, he became the first player suspended for life under MLB’s drug program.

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A surprising decision

Commissioner Rob Manfred met with Mejia recently after the embattled pitcher applied for reinstatement. 

As a result, he lifted Mejia’s lifetime ban and cited that he believes the Mets hurler is truly sorry for his actions and will be able to move forward in a positive fashion.

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"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 [drug] program going forward," Manfred said in a statement, per the Associated Press. "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.”

He will be allowed to start a rehab stint in the Minor Leagues in August and will be able to crack the Mets Major League roster in 2019 if they need him (and he proves himself once more). The 29 year old is still is under team control for two more seasons (eligible for salary arbitration) before entering free agency.

"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," Mejia said in a statement issued through the MLB Players' Association. "Baseball is my profession, my passion and my life, and for those mistakes I am truly sorry."

"We appreciate his regret and renewed commitment to comply moving forward," the Mets said in a statement. "We will evaluate his progress on the field and assess the situation and our options in the coming months.”

While there’s no way to predict what Mejia can currently do on the mound (or what he could have done previously without using PEDs), there’s no denying that the Mets drastically need bullpen help.

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In fact, as of Saturday night, the Mets owned the fourth-worst bullpen ERA (4.83) in the entire MLB and ranked 25th in batting-average-against (.258).

Therefore, if Mejia can showcase some talent in the minors later this summer, perhaps the Mets will give him another chance at some point next season, just like Manfred did in reinstating him.

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