Kawasaki shines in spring contest


Munenori Kawasaki continued his spring hitting streak to four games on Saturday with a two-run double and single.

In camp with the Chicago Cubs on a minor league contract, Kawasaki started at second base as a split-squad team from the Cubs beat the Chicago White Sox 9-2 at Sloan Park.

“I wasn’t hitting fat pitches,” said the 34-year-old Kawasaki, who lined a fastball away down the line in left for an opposite-field double in the fifth and singled in the seventh. “My intent was to be ready to swing from the first pitch.

“My swing has been good, although I can’t tell you exactly what’s good about it. In about a month I’ll have forgotten.”

Kawasaki has a career batting average of .234 over four big-league seasons.

In Fort Meyers, Florida, Koji Uehara and Boston Red Sox teammate Junichi Tazawa each worked one inning in a game against the Miami Marlins. Uehara allowed a run on three hits, while striking out two. Tazawa allowed one hit but no runs in the Red Sox’s 11-8 loss to the Marlins.

Former Tokyo Yakult Swallows pitcher Chris Narveson started for the Marlins and worked three scoreless innings to collect the win.

Mejia wants appeal

New York AP

Former Mets closer Jenrry Mejia wants to challenge the agreement he made not to appeal his third positive drug test, which led to a lifetime ban from baseball.

Banned on Feb. 12, Mejia spoke at a news conference Friday in the office of one of his new lawyers. They accused Major League Baseball of orchestrating the third positive test because Mejia refused to implicate another individual, whom they would not identify, in the use of performance-enhancing drugs. MLB denies the allegations.

Mejia was suspended for 80 games last April 11 following a positive test for Stanozolol, a drug popular among bodybuilders, and now admits he did take a banned substance then. He returned July 12, appeared in seven games for New York, then was suspended for 162 games on July 28 after a positive test for Stanozolol and Boldenone.

“They asked me if I knew someone. I told them I couldn’t give them information on that person,” Mejia said, referring to a discussion last summer. “They told me that if I appealed, they had a third test, they could check it, and if they found something in the third test, they could ban me for life, like they’re doing now, but if I didn’t appeal, they would leave me alone. I could go back to practice and come back to baseball after the second suspension.”

Speaking mostly in Spanish but occasionally in English in a crowded small conference room in Queens, Mejia said his agent, Peter Greenberg, was present when the threat was made. Greenberg did not respond to an email seeking comment.

While the lawyer, Vincent White, said Mejia refused to implicate another player, Mejia said the individual in question was not a player.

“I have my dignity,” Mejia said. “I can clear my name by myself, fighting my case, but I won’t clear my name throwing someone else under the bus.”

Greenberg and officials of the Major League Baseball Players Association did not attend the news conference.

Mejia became the first baseball player given a lifetime ban for PEDs when he tested positive for Boldenone, which athletes have used to increase muscle mass and once was popular for use in horse racing. While he issued a statement last April stating “I can honestly say I have no idea how a banned substance ended up in my system,” he now admits he triggering the positive test.

“I was ill,” he said. “I found something my brother was using and I used it, and I admitted to using that substance.”

Mejia denied taking any substances that triggered the second and third positive tests.