New York Mets relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia announced Friday he will appeal his lifetime ban from Major League Baseball.
Mejia's lawyer, Vincent White, told reporters, per Nathaniel Vinton of the New York Daily News, that his client "feels he has no choice but to fight" the permanent suspension he received in February for failing three performance-enhancing drug tests.
In Vinton's report, White said MLB used "dirty cop tactics" and "claims to have spoken with several witnesses, one of whom...accuses MLB of hacking players’ online accounts."
Mejia said through an interpreter during the press conference, per Vinton's report, he wants "to clear [his] name." He added he was “not here to accuse anyone or hurt anyone" during the appeals process.
MLB provided a statement on Mejia's comments and pending appeal:
Adam Rubin @AdamRubinMedia
Here's the MLB statement on latest comments from Jenrry Mejia and his attorney: https://t.co/YUxuz1LmSr2016-3-11 20:58:00
On March 4, per Ben Berkon of the New York Times, Mejia claimed that MLB threatened to orchestrate his third positive drug test if he appealed his 162-game ban last year: "I felt there was a conspiracy against me. I feel that they were trying to find something to bring me down in my career.”
MLB spokesman Pat Courtney denied the allegations, telling Berkon, "no one at MLB or representing MLB has met with Mejia regarding any of these drug violations."
Mejia also told Berkon the MLB Players Association "should have done more" to help him by finding "something to appeal for." White told Berkon this situation is "a collective bargaining issue, this is a labor issue, this is an employer who we see perhaps overstepping."
Last April, MLB announced Mejia's 80-game suspension after he failed a test for Stanozolol. He returned to the big leagues on July 12, pitching in just seven games before a second positive drug test left him suspended for 162 games.
Mejia did not appeal the second suspension, which would have made him eligible to return in July 2016 before the most recent failed drug test made him the first player to be permanently banned under MLB's joint drug agreement. He is eligible to apply for reinstatement after one year.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic at age 17, Mejia has spent parts of five seasons with the Mets. He was the team's closer in 2014, recording 28 saves and 98 strikeouts in 63 games.