February 12, 2016 / 10:59 PM / 2 years ago

Mets reliever Mejia banned for life for doping

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Major League Baseball (MLB) on Friday issued a lifetime ban to former New York Mets closer Jenrry Mejia after he tested positive a third time for a performance-enhancing substance.

New York Mets Jenrry Mejia delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field in New York, in this file photo taken April 26, 2014. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports/Files

Mejia, 26, tested positive for anabolic steroid Boldenone. He was in the midst of a 162-game suspension for both Boldenone and Stanozolol, for which he tested positive while serving his original 80-game ban last summer.

The lifetime suspension is the longest drug-related ban MLB has issued.

Mejia, who failed three tests in less than a year, may apply to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred for reinstatement in one year, but would have to sit out a minimum of two years before being able to pitch again in the majors.

“We were deeply disappointed to hear that Jenrry has again violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” the Mets said in a statement on Friday.

“We fully support MLB’s policy toward eliminating performance enhancing substances from the sport. As per the Joint Drug Program, we will have no further comment on this suspension.”

Mejia’s Mets career ends with a 3.68 ERA in 113 appearances.

MLB suspensions are honored by affiliated leagues in other countries, such as in Japan, South Korea and Mexico.

A former top prospect, the Dominican right-hander was the Mets’ closer as recently as the 2015 Opening Day, before an elbow injury landed him on the disabled list and thrust Jeurys Familia into that role.

Mejia’s first suspension occurred during that stint on the disabled list.

By the time Mejia returned from the 80-game suspension last July, he had been replaced as closer by Familia. That same month he again tested positive for Stanozolol and received a 162-game suspension.

Mejia, who had 99 games left to serve on his second suspension, claimed the closer’s role in 2014 when he posted a 6-6 record with 28 saves and 98 strikeouts in 93 2/3 innings.

Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes

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