Welcome back, Jenrry Mejia! The 25-year-old right-handed relief pitcher is set to return to the Mets today after completing his 80-game suspension.
It feels like yesterday that Mejia was warming up for a save on Opening Day but became unavailable due to elbow tightness. Some speculated that Mejia, who had Tommy John surgery in 2011, was destined to undergo the same procedure again, but thankfully that was not the case. He was given an X-ray and MRI by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery, which showed only inflammation in his elbow.
Mejia was placed on the disabled list, and on April 11, he was suspended for 80 games without pay for testing positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing drug.
As part of a revision to the Joint Drug Agreement by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, any player suspended during the season under the drug program is ineligible to play during the postseason. Thus, the Mets will be without Jenrry Mejia if they reach the postseason in 2015.
Mejia will be used in a setup role for current closer and All-Star final vote candidate Jeurys Familia. Mejia has been great in his minor league rehab assignment, allowing only one run in six innings with 10 strikeouts. In his final minor league outing on Sunday, he recorded the save for Triple-A Las Vegas in a scoreless appearance.
Last year, Mejia made seven starts before the Mets moved him to the bullpen. Once he took over as closer, he converted 28 saves in 31 save opportunities. He struck out 98 batters in 93.2 innings pitched with a 3.65 ERA overall. As closer, he made himself known around baseball for his celebratory "stomp" upon concluding an inning.