Mets considering 20-year-old Mejia for bullpen

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Showing yet again that they’ve never met a prospect they won’t rush, the Mets have reportedly decided to keep Jenrry Mejia in big-league camp through the end of spring training to evaluate him as an Opening Day bullpen option.
Mejia is one of the game’s best pitching prospects and has looked great so far this spring, but he’s just 20 years old and his only action above Single-A was going 0-5 with a 4.47 ERA in 10 starts at Double-A last season. Of course, most organizations would never have pushed him to Double-A as a teenager to begin with, so the Mets got the overly aggressive ball rolling last season and now it’s just building up speed.
Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News notes that if Mejia doesn’t claim an Opening Day bullpen spot “he’s not going to be stretched out enough to immediately contribute in the [Double-A] Binghamton rotation” because “Jerry Manuel is determined to begin using Mejia in short and frequent relief spurts, to gauge how he reacts to pitching in that capacity.”
So instead of letting him develop normally and gradually as a starting pitcher, like just about any other team would with a young prospect of Mejia’s caliber, the Mets first rocketed him through the minors and are now considering limiting him to brief outings because they need short-term relief help. Mets fans sometimes accuse Hardball Talk of picking on them too much, but I’m starting to think maybe it’s actually not enough.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.