Mets option Daisuke Matsuzaka to Triple-A, intend to use Jenrry Mejia as fifth starter

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Daisuke Matsuzaka struck out eight batters and walked none over five scoreless innings this afternoon against the Blue Jays. His reward? A trip to the minors.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said after today’s game that Matsuzaka has been optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. This means that Jenrry Mejia has won the fifth spot in the starting rotation.

Of course, Mejia left last night’s start after he was hit on the right forearm with a comebacker, so he’ll have to prove his health in order to make his scheduled season debut next Friday against the Reds. Matsuzaka would likely get the nod if Mejia is unable to go.

Health situation aside, this was always the ideal scenario for the Mets, as Mejia simply offers more upside. Matsuzaka can’t opt out of his minor league contract until May 30, so it also makes sense from a team control standpoint. He’s nice insurance to have around at the Triple-A level at the very least.

Five minor leaguers suspended for drug violations

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NEW YORK (AP) Five minor league pitchers have been suspended for drug violations.

The commissioner’s office announced the penalties Tuesday.

Three of the players are part of the Toronto system. Right-hander Juan Jimenez and left-hander Naswell Paulino were each suspended for 72 games, and righty Jol Concepcion was banned for 60 games. Jimenez, Paulino and Concepcion tested for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance.

Jimenez and Paulino are on the roster for the rookie-level Dominican Summer League Blue Jays, and Concepcion is on the roster of the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Blue Jays.

Kansas City minor leaguer Travis Eckert and free-agent lefty Kevin Duchene each tested positive for a drug of abuse. Eckert was suspended for 50 games following a second positive test, and Duchene received a 100-game penalty following a third positive test.

Eckert is on the roster for Single-A Lexington of the South Atlantic League.

There have been 79 suspensions under the minor league drug program this year and five under the major league program.