Friday, May 25, 2018
Sports

MLB bans reliever for life

NEW YORK — Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia became the first player to receive a lifetime ban under Major League Baseball's drug agreement after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance for the third time.

The commissioner's office said Friday that Mejia tested positive for the anabolic steroid Boldenone, used to increase muscle mass and was once popular for use in horse racing.

The 26-year-old right-hander was the Mets' closer in 2014, then was suspended for 80 games last April after a positive test for Stanozolol, a drug popular among bodybuilders. At the time, he said, "I can honestly say I have no idea how a banned substance ended up in my system."

Mejia returned July 12, appeared in seven games, then was banned for 162 games on July 28 after a positive test for Stanozolol and Boldenone.

"I think not surprisingly there's a tremendous amount of disappointment, I think to some extent, anger, to some extent, amazement that this could happen so soon after a previous suspension was completed," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said then.

The Mets said Friday that they "were deeply disappointed." The Players Association declined comment, and a spokesman for Mejia's agents said the pitcher had no comment.

Under pressure to toughen their drug program, MLB players and teams agreed in 2005 that a third positive test for PEDs would result in a lifetime ban. His 162-game suspension had matched the longest under the big-league program, a yearlong ban served by the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez in 2014 that originally was 211 games before an arbitrator reduced it.

Mejia may apply one year from now to commissioner Rob Manfred for reinstatement, and Manfred has the power to let Mejia back in baseball — but no earlier than for the 2018 season. If an application is made and denied, Mejia could ask baseball's arbitrator to end the ban, claiming the penalty is without "just cause." The arbitrator cannot reduce the ban to less than two years.

A Dominican signed by the Mets in 2007, Mejia reached the majors in 2010 and became their closer in 2014, when he had 28 saves in 31 chances.

YANKEES SIGN CHAPMAN: Closer Aroldis Chapman and the Yankees agreed to a one-year contract worth $11,325,000, avoiding salary arbitration. Acquired from Cincinnati in December, Chapman had asked for $13.1 million and had been offered $9 million. The agreement was $275,000 above the midpoint. Chapman threw the 62 fastest pitches in the majors last season, ranging from 103.92 to 102.36 mph. He was 4-4 with a 1.63 ERA and 33 saves in 36 chances, striking out 116 and walking 33 in 66 1-3 innings. He made $8,075,000. MLB is investigating Chapman under the sport's new domestic abuse policy after a disturbance in Florida on Oct. 30 involving his girlfriend. Prosecutors decided not to file charges.

INDIANS GET HUNTER: Reliever Tommy Hunter and the Indians agreed to a one-year deal. The Rays had been having talks with the 29-year-old right-hander. Hunter was 4-2 with a 4.18 ERA in 58 relief appearances last season for the Orioles and Cubs, who acquired him July 31 for outfielder Junior Lake.

TRADE: The Brewers traded outfielder Khris Davis, who hit 27 home runs last season, to the A's for a pair of prospects.

Comments
Calvary Christian’s record win streak ends in state final

Calvary Christian’s record win streak ends in state final

FORT MYERS — One of the most impressive streaks in high school baseball came to an end early Friday morning.Calvary Christian lost the Class 4A state championship 5-1 to Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian at Hammond Stadium in a game that ended ...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Having lost two straight and nine of 12 times overall to the Red Sox, the Rays needed two things to go right Thursday:First, a strong start from Blake Snell.Second, some early runs against Rick Porcello from an offense that had...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Thursday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Thursday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Home cooking clearly agrees with OF Denard Span. The 34-year-old Tampa product continues to deliver, producing at the plate, running the bases, making diving catches in the outfield, and Thursday, even going over the short sidewall twice in hot pursu...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

TAMPA — This much is clear: The National Football League is focused on getting rid of kneeling players.That was the league's announcement Wednesday in requiring players to stand during the national anthem before games or possibly have their tea...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays once again will ‘open’ with relievers this weekend

Rays once again will ‘open’ with relievers this weekend

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays weren't kidding about being serious that starting relievers gives them the best chance to win.So much so, they plan to do so again this weekend against the Orioles — in all three games. The plan is for Sergio Rom...
Updated: 3 hours ago
When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

TAMPA — Disbelief will eventually give way to acceptance.The Lightning isn't there yet.It isn't there yet in a lot of ways.Will it ever be?Just wondering.Really, what guarantees are there?Late Wednesday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechki...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Fight off the frustration, Lightning, and don’t panic

Fight off the frustration, Lightning, and don’t panic

TAMPA — Don't change a thing.Don't blow it up. Don't fire anyone. Don't overreact.Thursday was not an easy day in Lightning Land. It was the day after the end of a season that ended much too soon. It was a day when bags were packed, questions w...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Front-end loaders will serve as coda to Tampa Bay Lightning’s wild ride

Front-end loaders will serve as coda to Tampa Bay Lightning’s wild ride

TAMPA — Hours before the puck dropped at Amalie Arena for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, the ice crew boss talked about putting off any sign of the end for as long as possible."We don’t want to see the front-end loaders," says Tom Miracle, ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan, among others, played hurt

Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan, among others, played hurt

TAMPA — Not surprisingly, several Lightning players went through the playoffs with what general manager Steve Yzerman called "significant injuries."He would not elaborate Thursday on who they were, though he said that information will be made p...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Two high draft picks that could earn starting jobs signed four year contracts with the Bucs Thursday.The team signed Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea, the team's first-round pick.Terms of the deal were not released, but Vea  is expected to r...
Updated: 7 hours ago