Jenrry Mejia, the Mets pitcher who was permanently barred from baseball after three failed doping tests, claims that he was the victim of a witch hunt by Major League Baseball and that the players’ union did not properly advocate on his behalf.
Baseball’s drug-testing program, which is jointly administered with the players’ union, caught Mejia using anabolic steroids three times. He was penalized twice in 2015, then received the permanent suspension last month.
But Mejia, 26, said in an interview Thursday that he was guilty only of the first doping offense. After the second positive test, which he said was somehow inaccurate, he was pressured by Major League Baseball officials to share information about his doping connections, he said.
Mejia said that baseball officials told him that if he appealed the punishment for the second doping offense, “they will find a way to find a third positive,” Mejia said through an interpreter. “I felt there was a conspiracy against me. I feel that they were trying to find something to bring me down in my career.”
Baseball officials denied making any such threats. “No one at M.L.B. or representing M.L.B. has met with Mejia regarding any of these drug violations,” Pat Courtney, a league spokesman, said.
Mejia’s agent, Peter Greenberg, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Baseball’s antidoping protocols allow for Mejia to apply for reinstatement after a year, in 2017. But the minimum penalty is two years, so regardless of Commissioner Rob Manfred’s decision, Mejia would not be eligible to play again until 2018.
His hopes of reinstatement will probably not be helped by his claims that Major League Baseball fabricated a positive drug test to get him out of the sport.
Mejia also said that he asked the players’ union for help, but representatives told him there were no grounds for an appeal.
“The association should have done more,” Mejia said, adding that he thought the union “should have been there to defend me — because that’s what they’re there for. They should have found something to appeal for.”
The players’ union declined immediate comment, citing confidentiality provisions in baseball’s drug-testing policy.
Mejia had a 3.68 E.R.A. over parts of five seasons for the Mets, although he was often sidelined with injuries and at one point underwent Tommy John surgery.
He earned about $3.6 million in his career and will forfeit his $2.4 million salary for 2016. He tested positive for substances that have long been easy to detect in a urine sample. Two of his positive tests involved boldenone, a steroid that has been used in horse racing.
Mejia has retained a lawyer, Vincent White, who specializes in labor disputes.
White said he was unsure what, if any, legal avenues Mejia would pursue. “For us, this is a collective bargaining issue, this is a labor issue, this is an employer who we see perhaps overstepping,” White said.
Mejia said he had no regrets. “I wouldn’t change a thing,” he said. “If the situation was meant to happen, then it was meant to happen. If God wanted it that way, it’s going to happen.”
He added: “All you have to do is admit your guilt when you are guilty. And stay positive when you’re not.”