Major League Baseball announced this afternoon that Brewers reliever J.C. Mejía has been suspended for 80 games after testing positive for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol. He heads to the restricted list, freeing up a 40-man roster spot. Milwaukee selected right-hander Trevor Kelley onto the big league roster in a corresponding move.
Mejía has made just a pair of appearances as a Brewer. Acquired from the Guardians last November after he’d been designated for assignment by Cleveland, he’s allowed six runs through 2 1/3 innings with Milwaukee. He’d been much better with Triple-A Nashville, however, tossing 10 2/3 frames of one-run ball across six outings. Mejía walked six batters with the Sounds, but he also punched out 15 and allowed just four hits.
Milwaukee has deployed the 25-year-old solely in relief this year. Mejía started 11 of his 17 appearances with Cleveland last season, his first crack at the major league level. That didn’t go especially well, as he was thrust into the rotation while the club dealt with various injuries and managed just an 8.25 ERA.
Mejía won’t be paid or receive service time for the next couple months. He’ll be eligible to return in mid-August but won’t be allowed to participate in postseason play this year. Mejía becomes the second player the division-leading Brew Crew have lost to a PED suspension in as many months; catcher Pedro Severino was suspended 80 games on the eve of Opening Day after his own positive test.
Kelley, 28, signed a minor league contract with Milwaukee last November. The right-hander appeared in 14 MLB games with the Red Sox and Phillies between 2019-20, allowing 12 runs in 11 2/3 innings. He spent all of last season with the Braves’ top affiliate in Gwinnett, never getting an MLB call from the eventual World Series champs despite posting an excellent 1.52 ERA over 41 1/3 frames.
Assigned to Nashville to open the year, Kelley has picked up where he’d left off at the minors’ highest level. He has allowed only two runs in 13 innings out of the bullpen, racking up 17 punchouts against four walks. Kelley has a pair of option years remaining, so the team can shuttle him between Milwaukee and Nashville while keeping him on the 40-man roster.