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Mets pitcher Mejia becomes first player banned for life under MLB drug policy

By Doug G. Ware   |   Feb. 12, 2016 at 9:11 PM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- For the first time in its history, Major League Baseball has banned a player for life under its anti-doping policy after a pitcher for the New York Mets supposedly failed a drug test for the third time in his career.

Jenrry Mejia was permanently barred from the league, MLB said Friday, after submitting a third test positive for anabolic steroids -- a substance that's been on the league's blacklist for a long time.

Two of Mejia's positive tests indicated use of boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance often used in horse racing, The New York Times reported.

Mejia did not comment on the matter Friday and his agent refused to comment.

"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 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."

A native of the Dominican Republic, Mejia made his Major League debut in 2010 and became the Mets' primary closer in 2014. All three of his failed tests reportedly occurred within one calendar year.

Mejia, 26, was suspended for the first half of the 2015 season after his first failed test for the steroid stanozolol, the league said.. He was suspended again, for 162 games, in July after the second involved stanozolol and boldenone. The second test occurred while Mejia was still serving his suspension for the first violation, MLB said.

Last month, the Mets resigned Mejia to a one-year contract worth $2.4 million.

While he is the first player to receive a permanent ban for three failed drug tests, Mejia is just the second person to receive permanent exile in any regard. The other, former Cincinnati Reds player and manager Pete Rose, was banned for betting on baseball in 1989.

Mejia can apply for reinstatement after a year, but must have been out of the league for two years if he is reinstated -- meaning the earliest he could possibly return would be 2018.

The ban by Major League Baseball also means Mejia cannot play in the minor leagues, either.

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