Jenrry Mejia dodges PED suspension talk: 'I come here to play baseball'

SAN FRANCISCO -- Former closer Jenrry Mejia declined to discuss what fueled his 80-game suspension for a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug as he completed the ban and rejoined the New York Mets for Tuesday's 3-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

In a statement released at the time of his April suspension, Mejia maintained he did not knowingly take PEDs. He tested positive for Stanozolol amid a flurry of other positive tests for that substance across Major League Baseball the opening few weeks of the season.

Mejia will be ineligible for the postseason if the Mets qualify,based on a stipulation added to MLB's suspension policy before last season.

"I come here to play baseball," Mejia said Tuesday. "I don't want to speak too much about it. That was before. Now I'm here to play baseball and do the best I can."

Mejia, 25, had been penciled in as the closer to start the season but instead opened the year on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. Four games into the season, MLB announced the 80-game suspension.

Jeurys Familia since has pitched superbly and will not be dislodged from the closer's role. Familia has converted 23 of 25 save chances and has posted a 1.13 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. He is one of five National League candidates in the final-vote competition for the All-Star Game.

Mejia and fellow former closer Bobby Parnell will serve in setup roles, although manager Terry Collins still needs to feel out the precise order. Mejia said he spoke regularly with Familia while on suspension, including imparting advice about pitch sequences.

"He's been doing a great job," Mejia said about Familia. "I like what he's doing."

Collins had been critical of Mejia in April for letting down the team.

Speaking shortly after the suspension was announced during the season's opening week, Collins noted that he knows exactly what he puts in his body. The manager was implying that Mejia's insistence on having not knowingly taken a PED was suspect.

Collins met with Mejia on Tuesday afternoon. The manager had no interest in revisiting his own April comments, though.

"It doesn't matter. It happened," Collins said. "The guy's back. I'm not going to live three months ago. He's here to help. All we talked about is what he's going to do from here on out. I know this kid very, very well. I know he feels terrible about what happened. We've got to get ready for the future."

Collins had recommended Mejia speak with teammates either as a group or individually. Mejia acknowledged speaking to a few teammates.

"Whatever I said to them, it stays with them," Mejia said.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson echoed the forward-looking mindset of Collins and Mejia and rejected the notion that Mejia owes any further explanation.

"He made a mistake. He admitted that," Alderson said. "He's paid a penalty. Whether I think he think he needs to express some public contrition or not, I know that privately he's done so. I've talked with him. As far as I'm concerned, it's over. But I think he understands he made a mistake. At the same time, I don't think there's any need for him to have to sort of publicly recognize that. I think he has informally and privately."

Mejia spent the initial part of his suspension working at the Mets' academy in Boca Chica in the Dominican Republic. He recently had appeared in six minor league games -- the final four with Triple-A Las Vegas -- to tune up for his activation from the restricted list.

Despite a 0.73 ERA in 12 relief innings with the Mets, right-hander Logan Verrett was demoted to Las Vegas to clear the roster spot. The Mets also transferred reliever Buddy Carlyle (back injury) to the 60-day disabled list.

"He's here to give us another option at the end of the bullpen and hopefully get some big outs," Collins said about Mejia.

Said Mejia: "I feel so happy to be here right now because I've been waiting so much time to be here again. Now I'm here, and I feel so happy."

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