PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Union chief Tony Clark indicated Sunday that the Major League Baseball Players Association had no knowledge of Jenrry Mejia’s dissatisfaction with his representation until comments from the New York Mets reliever were published last week in The New York Times.
Mejia received a lifetime ban from baseball last month after testing positive on three separate occasions for performance-enhancing drugs.
In the report published in the Times, Mejia claimed he was only guilty of the first offense, and that he was being railroaded by Major League Baseball officials.
He told the Times through an interpreter regarding the union’s defense of him: “The association should have done more, should have been there to defend me -- because that’s what they’re there for. They should have found something to appeal for.”
Clark responded Sunday: “Anytime there’s a concern from a player about a situation related to the support he feels he got or didn’t get, it’s concerning. But, again, we are confident that we take every case seriously and provide the support from start to finish for players. Being a player, you can trust that is the case.”
Asked if the Times article was the first indicated the union received about Mejia’s dissatisfaction, Clark added: “Obviously any joint-drug-agreement case has a start and has either an end related to an arbitration hearing or a settlement. So there are opportunities to communicate throughout. Those concerns weren’t anything we were aware of during the course of this process.”
Although he is banned from baseball, Mejia has the right to reapply for reinstatement for the 2018 season. If the commissioner denies that appeal, Mejia still may be eligible if an arbitrator sides with him.
Clark noted the union approves of the protocols. He added that the players were a driving force behind the three-strikes-and-you’re-out policy as well as the reinstatement procedures.
“If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t have agreed to it,” Clark said. “As you may recall, going back a few years ago when we did agree to the changes, it was player-driven.”