Jenrry Mejia, the first player ever to receive a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball for violating the performance enhancing drug policy three times, could be competing for a spot in the Red Sox bullpen this spring.

The 29-year-old right-hander hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2015, but agreed to a minor league contract with the Red Sox on Tuesday afternoon, as first reported by Jon Heyman.

Mejia, who once relied primarily on a cutter-slider combination in the low-mid-90s, has a 2.54 ERA in the Dominican winter league this offseason.

“We saw Mejia throw recently, and he threw well,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told the Boston Herald by email.

Though Mejia was once a prominent closer with the New York Mets, saving 28 games with a 3.65 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 932/3 innings in 2014, it won’t be an easy ride back to the major leagues with the Red Sox. He was caught three different times for violating the PED policy; twice in 2015 and a final time in 2016, when he was issued a lifetime suspension.

“He has been reinstated by MLB, so we are hopeful he has learned from his past mistakes,” Dombrowski wrote.

Commissioner Rob Manfred decided to let Mejia back into the game last July.

“Under the terms of our collectively bargained Joint Drug Program, a permanently suspended player like Mr. Mejia has the right to apply to me for discretionary reinstatement after serving a minimum of two years,” Manfred wrote in a statement. “Upon receiving Mr. Mejia’s application for reinstatement last year, I invited him to New York to meet with me. During our meeting, Mr. Mejia expressed regret for poor choices he made in the past and assured me that, if reinstated, he would adhere to the terms of the Program going forward. In light of Mr. Mejia’s contrition, his commitment to comply with the Program in the future, and the fact that he will have already spent almost four consecutive years suspended without pay, I have decided to grant Mr. Mejia a final chance to resume his professional career.”

Mejia did not receive an invite to big league camp with the Red Sox and will have to prove himself early on to earn opportunities to pitch. That’s the way Ryan Brasier opened some eyes a year ago while on a minor league deal. Brasier was often used to pitch the ninth inning when most of the fans (and big league regulars) had left the park.

But with a wide-open competition in the Red Sox bullpen, anything could happen. Brasier, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Steven Wright and Hector Velazquez would appear to be the only locks to make the team in the bullpen.

CRAIG KIMBREL was working out at Babson College on Tuesday. Brock Holt ran into him there.

Holt wrote on Instagram, “Hey @redsox ran into some guy today. Says he’s looking for a job. Supposedly he’s pretty good??”

Red Sox hurlers Matt Barnes and Chris Sale also are hopeful that the Red Sox re-sign Kimbrel.

Kimbrel remains a free agent. But Dave Dombrowski continues to say he does not plan to spend a lot of money on a closer.

BASEBALL AMERICA‘s 100 prospect list doesn’t include any players in the Red Sox farm system – or the Yankees’ system.

“For the first time that we can remember, a preseason Top 100 list features no Red Sox or Yankees players,” Baseball America tweeted.

MLB Pipeline’s top 100 list, however, included one Red Sox prospect and two Yankees.

It ranked Red Sox third base prospect Michael Chavis 79th as well as Yankees outfield prospect Estevan Florial 57th and right-handed pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga 66th.

Baseball America ranked Red Sox pitching prospect Jason Groome 83rd and Chavis 85th on its 2018 preseason list. Groome missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May.

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