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After a celebration gone wrong at the World Baseball Classic, many Mets fans might be wondering: what happened to Edwin Diaz?
On March 15, 2023, Puerto Rico won against the Dominican Republic in a 5-2 game. It all took a turn when the team ran to the field to celebrate and jump and later saw the pitcher on the ground where he couldn’t get back up again. Díaz was taken off the field in a wheelchair after injuring his right knee celebrating their victory.
What happened to Edwin Díaz?
What happened to Edwin Díaz? Mets GM Billy Eppler announced on Thursday, March 16, 2023, that Díaz suffered a torn patellar tendon and he gave a rough timeline of eight months for the injury on Thursday. “He will have the surgery [Thursday] and we will see how the recovery starts and how much he is able to weight bear and how active he is,” Eppler said. “I’m thinking we are not updating this timeline for a while.”
“There are instances where athletes have come back earlier, more around the six-month mark,” Eppler told reporters. “But those are a little bit more of the exception than the rule.”
After being on the ground for a while, Díaz was in tears and did not put any weight on the leg. “Don’t worry, I’m fine. it doesn’t hurt.” His brother and fellow teammate Alexis Díaz was seen crying on the way out of the field.
When they got back to the locker room, Red Sox and Puerto Rico team player Kiké Hernandez recalled that it was “quiet.” “It comes to a certain point that it gets bigger than a game. Something very unfortunate happened. As excited as we were about the game and all that, that’s one of our brothers. Some of us grew up together and all that. It’s real easy to set aside the game and worry about us as humans. It definitely doesn’t feel in there like we just beat the Dominican Republic to advance.”
“I didn’t see it right away,” manager Yadier Molina said. “I was hugging our coaches in the dugout, and when we looked up, Edwin was on the ground. I didn’t know. I didn’t know how to act, I didn’t know what to say. It caught me by surprise. It sucks. When you see a guy that works so hard like Edwin — when you see him on the ground like that, it’s just sad.” He continued, “It wasn’t pretty much until we got to the infield dirt that we realized something had gone wrong. At the moment, we didn’t know who it was. When we got there, that’s when we realized who it was. Obviously, aside from being the best closer in the game right now, and being a huge part of this team, Sugar is one of the glue guys in that clubhouse.”
“It was really tough to see that,” said Dominican Republic left fielder Juan Soto told MLB. “He’s a tremendous pitcher, a tremendous person. You just feel really uncomfortable and helpless in a situation like that.”
Mets teammate and US team player Pete Alonso heard about Díaz’s injury when the US was playing against Colombia. “It’s just really heartbreaking to hear about Edwin,” Alonso said after a 3-2 win, which put the US into the tournament’s quarterfinals. “Every day you show up to the yard, there’s a possibility of getting hurt. There’s hazard in the job. Anyone can get hurt at any given time. Anything can happen. That’s the risk we run playing baseball. We’re athletes and injuries are unfortunately part of the game.”
Díaz assured fans by tweeting about his speedy recovery on March 16, 2023. “To all my beloved fans, especially the Mets fans, I want to let you know that I am doing well and healing. I feel blessed and grateful for your support with messages and prayers, thank you very much! I can’t wait to see you guys in NY again and play those trumpets.”
Díaz became a fan favorite at Mets home stadium Citi Field with his iconic walk-off song to the popular song “Narco” by Blasterjaxx and Timmy Trumpet. The Mets re-signed Díaz to a five-year, $102 million contract after he produced a spectacular 2022 season. It was the largest-ever signing for a closer. All player contracts are covered by insurance through the WBC that spans the length of time the player is out with an injury sustained during the tournament.
“Sound the trumpets! It’s official. Edwin Díaz deal is done,” Mets owner Steve Cohen tweeted November 9, 2022 after Díaz passed his physical.
Eppler explained how the negotiations with the Mets player went”Began dialogue, I don’t know, 12, 15 days after that. We had a good amount of dialogue over the last week before we really dug into some numbers and kind of walked through some structures. Once we could outline kind of a framework, it was just a matter of calling everyone on the line,” Eppler said at the GM meetings in Las Vegas. “We trust the player. We trust the character. He wanted to get something done. He wanted to stay here. He was very upfront about that and we were ready to go, so we felt it was a really good match.”
Díaz is a two-time All-Star and two-time reliever of the year. He converted 32 saves for the Mets last season with a 1.31 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 62 innings. The Mets haven’t revealed their plan about replacements yet for the season. However, it’s speculated that Adam Ottavino and David Robertson, both 37 years old are the best, most proven arms in the bullpen now.
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