(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
Jenrry Mejia was long gone as were his belongings in the New York Mets clubhouse at Citi Field Tuesday evening. The Manager Terry Collins, after a 4-0 win over the San Diego Padres was asked to comment about the storyline of the night.
“Just had a tremendous game,” Collins said when asked to comment about his relief pitcher and a second suspension leveled by Major League Baseball for a another positive test in using performance enhancing drugs.
He added, “Don’t need to be socked in the gut.” And indeed that was the mood even though Noah Syndergaard made everyone go home happy with 8.0 scoreless innings and perhaps the best outing for a Mets pitcher this season.
So on a night when the Mets picked up another game on the first place Washington Nationals and moved within a game of first place, when 26,034 fans cheered every pitch that Syndergaard threw, Mejia put a damper on the positive.
And there can be no sympathy for Mejia, nor should there be. And as much as the other 24 members of the roster were surprised about Mejia, there was a sense that this was good riddance and no more. GM Sandy Alderson just about alluded to Mejia as damaged goods.
“This is having a tremendously adverse effect on a very promising major league career, and that’s a shame,” Alderson commented. “But the rules are the rules. We support the rules. This is the consequence of making bad choices.”
And there is no doubt that Mejia has made two bad choices, much more difficult to understand when throwing the wrong pitch that sails out of the ballpark. A third mishap, if Mejia does return to the Mets or another team, and he is banned from baseball and right now he is in the company of Alex Rodriguez who was suspended twice and also had a 162-game ban.
The prevailing attitude in that Mets postgame clubhouse was to answer at will. There was that silence, more so an atmosphere more fit for a team that lost another game. Yet this was a night when the Mets made progress again with the continued development of Syndergaard, home runs from Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson, and the debut and scoreless ninth inning out of the pen from newcomer Tyler Clippard.
And now Clippard, because of the ignorance and perhaps stupidity of Mejia, will play a vital role as the Mets try to bypass the Nationals or fight for a wild card spot to the postseason. Mejia was supposed to make the pen that much stronger, now it is up to Bobby Parnell, Clipper,and Jeurys Familia who still are a formidable three in the late innings.
The players, according to Collins were shaking their heads in disbelief when they were informed of the Mejia news prior to taking the field. Many who were supportive of the right hander the first time had a different tone this time.
“I don’t buy it was a mistake,” said Michael Cuddyer. “It was a choice. “Definitely disappointed, Like I said he has to pay the consequences.” The first time Mejia said he had no idea that a substance known as Stanozolol was in his system
Major League Baseball and their testing authorities did not comment, and Mejia was long gone to answer about testing positive this time for Stanozolol and Boldenone. But who really cares what Mejia says,because he was clearly a fool again in that he had to know that illegal substances were still a part of his game, also knowing that a once suspended player is tested more frequently.
Alderson said he was shocked. The suspension came three weeks after Mejia returned from the first violation and Mejia looked sharp on the mound throwing 7-⅓ scoreless innings since his return on July 12th.
And again the impact and loss of Mejia may, or may not hinder this team. If New York reaches the postseason for the first time since 2006, Mejia would not have been eligible because of the first suspension.
The Mets bullpen came into the game Tuesday night sixth in majors with a 2.86 ERA, but the return of Mejia made them more effective. Though the loss of Mejia may or may not be felt, there were mixed feelings because guys in the pen work as a unit and share numerous stories.
“It’s disappointing and unfortunate,” commented right hander Carlos Torres who may be asked to be one of the arms to fill the void. “When he came back he was throwing, mixing his pitches well . Thought he, (Mejia) would be a solidifier at the end of the bullpen.”
Torres added, “He made a bad choice. We all do at some time. As a person he never did we wrong, He made a bad choice we all do at some time. I will never throw stones at him but he’s gotta live with it now.”
Yes, it is now a problem for Mejia to understand, and to comprehend the damage it has incurred on his career. And as Torres said, he does have to live with it, however an entire Mets team has to move on and they will.
Collins said he loves Mejia as a player, as a person. In the end, there is no room for an excuse and Jenrry Mejia knows the consequences about a damaged career that may not see a third chance at redemption.
Comment: [email protected] [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso