Mets’ Edwin Diaz carried off field after Puerto Rico WBC celebration injury

Mets’ Edwin Diaz carried off field after Puerto Rico WBC celebration injury

PORT ST. LUCIE — The Mets’ worst World Baseball Classic fears may have been realized Wednesday night.
Edwin Diaz, the team’s All-Star closer, was removed from the field in Miami in a wheelchair after he was injured during Team Puerto Rico’s postgame celebration following a 5-2 victory over the Dominican Republic.
Diaz had just recorded the final out of the game and was crowded by teammates who began hugging him near the pitcher’s mound.

Diaz emerged from the celebration unable to put weight on his right knee and was helped to a wheelchair.

Diaz’s younger brother Alexis, also a reliever for Team Puerto Rico, was in tears as Edwin was helped from the field.
Edwin Diaz recorded the final three strikeouts of the game, sending Puerto Rico to Saturday’s quarterfinals against Mexico.

Edwin Diaz

With Diaz moments after the injury was a Mets doctor and third-base coach Joey Cora, who was part of a contingent who traveled to the game.
The Mets released a statement saying Diaz will receive imaging on the knee on Thursday and an update will be provided when appropriate.

“I was hugging our coaches in the dugout. Then when we looked up, Edwin was on the ground,” Puerto Rico manager Yadier Molina told reporters afterward. “I didn’t know. I didn’t know how to act, I didn’t know how to — what to say. I mean, I didn’t know. It got me for a surprise.”
If there is an irreplaceable piece to this Mets team it’s Diaz, who signed a five-year deal worth $102 million to return even before officially hitting free agency last offseason.

The Mets have other relievers with closing experience, but there is only one Diaz, who pitched to a 1.31 ERA with 118 strikeouts in 62 innings last season, along the way becoming something of a cult hero at Citi Field as he entered games to Timmy Trumpet’s “Narco,” with horns blaring.

“I don’t think it’s the tournament’s fault,” Diaz’s Mets teammate Adam Ottavino told USA TODAY Sports. “It does stink for the team. And for him.”

Diaz’s breakout ended questions whether he was suited to be closer in New York, after three seasons of failing to fulfill expectations following his arrival in a blockbuster trade with the Mariners.

Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz

The Mets, like most teams, were wary of sending their star players to the WBC — which is occurring for the first time since 2017 — for fear of injury.

Diaz joined Francisco Lindor on Team Puerto Rico, while Eduardo Escobar and Omar Narvaez left to play for Venezuela.

Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Adam Ottavino and Brooks Raley were the Mets’ representatives for Team USA.

From that group, Raley returned (before the tournament even began) with a strained left hamstring that has him sidelined from spring training games.

Jose Quintana was slated to pitch for Colombia, but the left-hander never got that far, diagnosed with a stress fracture on the fifth rib on his left side just before he was set to depart for the tournament.
The left-hander will undergo surgery that involves a bone graft (a benign lesion was found on his rib) and will return sometime after July 1, according to general manager Billy Eppler.

Before leaving for the WBC, Diaz informed Team Puerto Rico officials that he would not pitch on consecutive days.
Diaz was also excited about the prospect of playing with his brother, a reliever for the Reds.

Ottavino and David Robertson both have closing experience, but moving one of them closer would also leave a gap in the setup role.

Edwin Diaz

As it stands, the Mets also have Raley and Drew Smith locked into bullpen roles, with a cast that includes John Curtiss, Tommy Hunter, Elieser Hernandez, Jeff Brigham, Stephen Nogosek, and others battling for the remaining openings.
The free-agent market includes names such as Zack Britton, Corey Knebel, Will Harris, and Jeurys Familia.
Even before Diaz’s injury, Mets officials were debating whether to sign the lefty Britton, a Buck Showalter favorite from Baltimore, according to sources.

Britton is scheduled to throw in a showcase for teams Thursday in Miami Gardens and the Mets are expected to attend.

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