Mike Jacobs, the first athlete in North American pro sports to be suspended for failing an hGH test, is back in the majors for the first time since 2010 after being called up by the Diamondbacks on Wednesday.
Jacobs, 31, served a 50-game suspension last year after testing positive for human growth hormone while playing for the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs. His promotion comes after he hit .279/.362/.486 with 18 homers in 333 at-bats for Triple-A Reno this season.
Jacobs, a 38th-round pick of the Mets in 1999, reached the majors in 2005 and hit 32 homers for the Marlins in 2008. His numbers took a nosedive in 2009, and he has appeared in just seven major league games since, all of them coming with the Mets in 2010. He said he used hGH last year to recover from back and knee injuries that had plagued him.
The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.
While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.