Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mejia Suspended: No LOL about Stanozolol for the Mets

Rather than offering a "hot take" on the news that Mets closer Jenrry Mejía has been suspended 80 games for use of a PED, I tried to do a little research on the matter.  And of course, by research, I mean searches on Google and social media.

What did Mejía take and why?

Mejia was caught using Stanozolol, often sold under the brand name Winstrol and commonly called "Winny" among bodybuilders.  Bodybuilders use this drug as part of a cutting cycle.  For bodybuilders, cutting is "A period of time when the primary goal is losing fat, losing weight, getting leaner, or all of the above."  Also from what I can gather, people like this drug because:

  •  it is available as a pill, so if you are averse to needles it is an option
  • it is cheap
  • it has a short "half life" relative to injectables so it clears from your body quickly. ( In other words, it's good if you are trying to avoid detection from drug tests.)
What was Mejía's excuse?
Mejía said he would accept his punishment but claims he "can honestly say I have no idea how a banned substance ended up in my system.” 

Interestingly, three other pitchers were recently also busted for the same drug.  Mariners pitcher David Rollins, Braves minor leaguer Arodys Vizcaino, and Twins pitcher Ervin Santana.  I couldn't locate a quote from Vizcaino, but Ervin Santana said something similar to Mejia:
“I am very disappointed that I tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug,” he said. “I am frustrated that I can’t pinpoint how the substance in question entered my body. … What I can guarantee is I never knowingly took anything illegal to enhance my performance. That’s just not me, never has been and never will.” 
Rollins, on the other hand, did not issue such a denial:

It was a mistake on my part.  It was very bad judgment and I've been regretting it ever since... I just want to apologize to everyone I've disappointed... I don't want to come off as a wrong person and to be labeled a cheater.  It wasn't like that at all.  I deeply regret what I did. "
According to Sports IllustratedRollins attributed the decision to an attempt to relieve soreness he felt in his throwing arm.  Coincidentally, perhaps, just a few days before being suspended, Mejia was placed on the 15 DL with elbow inflammation.

Transplanted ex-Mets pitcher and Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez had two somewhat conflicting takes on Twitter:
"I think it's irresponsible to put something in your body and not consult with your trainers. You can't take that lightly as a player"
"This kid probably didn't know about the medicine. I'm almost sure he doesn't speak English. Players need to go to orientation meeting"
I think it is a bit bananas to insinuate that not speaking English exonerates Mejia in any way, but I did notice that 3 of the 4 pitchers were Latin. Maybe "Minstrel" in Spanish means "jellybean"?

What does this mean for the Mets?

David Wright and other Mets were reportedly seriously frustrated and disappointed in Mejia. Having to find a new closer certainly makes it more of a challenge for the Mets to achieve their postseason aspirations. On the other hand, Parnell will be back soon and many have believed de-facto closer Familia has more upside for the closer role anyway. To me, the worst part of this development is what it means for Montero. With Familia taking the 9th, it means Montero's arm needs to stay in the bullpen for now and can't replace Dillon Gee in the rotation if Gee struggles. Many believe Gee only won the 5th spot in the rotation to better showcase him for a trade. But now and for the foreseeable future, Gee isn't going anywhere. Let's hope the Mets still are.

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