Red Sox sign reliever once banned for life by MLB for failing multiple drug tests

John Tomase
January 30, 2019 - 9:41 am

Jenrry Mejia's lifetime ban from baseball didn't end up lasting quite that long, and he has the Red Sox to thank.

The former Mets reliever, banned from baseball in 2016 for multiple failed drug tests, signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox this week and will compete for a spot in a bullpen that lacks closing experience with incumbent Craig Kimbrel still a free agent.

Mejia, 28, was banished from the game three years ago after flunking a third test for performance-enhancing drugs. He appealed and was reinstated last July, and the Red Sox hope he can stay on the straight and narrow.

"He pitched last season and was free from PEDs," president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told "We are hopeful that he has learned from his past mistakes."

Mejia is 9-14 with a 3.68 ERA over parts of five seasons with the Mets. He debuted in 2010 at age 20 before undergoing Tommy John surgery a year later and missing all of the 2011 and most of the 2012 seasons. He transitioned to the bullpen in 2014 and saved 28 games for the Mets, but was suspended for 80 and then 162 games in 2015 after failing a pair of drug tests.

When healthy, Mejia features a power cutter and mid-90s fastball.