The biggest news from the World Baseball Classic didn’t happen during a game. It happened after a game, during Puerto Rico’s celebration of an upset victory Wednesday over the Dominican Republic that sent them into the quarterfinals.
By now, you’ve heard what happened. New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz, who signed a five-year, $102 million contract during the off-season, was injured during the celebration. He left the field in a wheelchair. His brother, Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Alexis Diaz, was crying.
The injury will most likely sideline one of the baseball’s top closers for the entire 2023 season. He suffered a complete patellar tendon tear in his right knee. Diaz underwent surgery Thursday in Florida.
The Mets are going to miss Diaz. He’s coming off a season that saw him post a microscopic 1.31 ERA, and a 6.56 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 62 innings. He had 32 saves in 61 appearances.
Proud to Play for Puerto Rico
There are those who are saying it’s a shame Diaz was injured in an exhibition game. But this wasn’t an exhibition game for Diaz and his Puerto Rican teammates. They are fiercely proud to represent their nation in the World Baseball Classic. It was just a terrible accident.
Major league teams can prevent their players from participating in the World Baseball Classic if there are injury concerns. The Mets’ Starling Marte, for example, was held out because he underwent abdominal surgery in the off-season.
The entire Mets starting infield is playing in the World Baseball Classic. They are first baseman Pete Alonso (USA), second baseman Jeff McNeil (USA), shortstop Francisco Lindor (Puerto Rico) and third baseman Eduardo Escobar (Venezuela).
‘Doing Well and Healing’
Diaz sent out a Tweet after his surgery. It reads: “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.”
Mets owner Steven Cohen had this to say in a Tweet: “Edwin Diaz is a great human being and a fierce competitor. All of us at the Mets are shaken but determined to sustain our quest for a great season. We wish Edwin a speedy recovery.”
How He Was Hurt
So what happened? What caused the injury?
After he struck out the Dominican Republic’s Teoscar Hernandez to seal Puerto Rico’s 5-2 victory, Diaz walked off the mound toward home plate, clapping his hands. His teammates streamed out of the dugout, gathered around him and everyone started hopping up and down.
Then something happened. Suddenly, Puerto Rico players were waving toward their dugout and Diaz was on the ground, his right leg extended. Players from both teams looked on in shock. A wheelchair was brought out, and Diaz was taken under the stands. The rest, as they say, is history.