The New York Mets will likely be without All-Star closer Edwin Díaz for the entire 2023 MLB season. On Thursday, GM Billy Eppler announced Díaz suffered a full-thickness tear of the patellar tendon in his right knee during Puerto Rico’s on-field celebration following their win over the Dominican Republic in Wednesday night’s win-or-go-home World Baseball Classic game. Díaz will have surgery Thursday and the recovery time is generally eight months.
“In general, we are not given too many opportunities to stand in the way when a player goes (to the WBC). There are certain criteria that has to be met for a player to not go,” Eppler told the Washington Post about holding players out of the WBC. “When we’re given that runway, we’ve taken it. We took it with (Starling) Marte. We filed the objection on Marte because we could. But I don’t want to get into the specifics here.”
Teams can block players from the WBC only under specific injury conditions and Marte was held out after having offseason abdominal surgery. New York’s entire starting infield — first baseman Pete Alonso (USA), second baseman Jeff McNeil (USA), shortstop Francisco Lindor (Puerto Rico), third baseman Eduardo Escobar (Venezuela) — is still playing in the WBC, as is setup man Adam Ottavino. Ottavino is a candidate to replace Díaz in the closer’s role.
It’s difficult to tell exactly how Díaz hurt his knee, but here’s a look at the incident in question:
Díaz recorded the final three outs in Puerto Rico’s upset win over a stacked Dominican Republic squad. He and his teammates were not celebrating excessively, and he wasn’t caught at the bottom of a dogpile or anything like that. It appears Díaz was simply jumping up and down with his teammates when his knee gave out.
Other players have suffered major injuries at the WBC. Among them, New York Yankees first base Mark Teixeira tore a tendon in his wrist while taking batting practice with Team USA in 2013. It sabotaged his year and eventually required season-ending surgery. Lefty Drew Smyly, then with the Seattle Mariners, hurt his elbow with Team USA in 2017 and needed Tommy John surgery.
Díaz, 29 on March 22, signed a five-year deal worth $102 million last offseason. It is the largest reliever contract in history in terms of both total guarantee and average annual value. Díaz is coming off a historic season that saw him post a 1.31 ERA (297 …
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