PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) – New York Mets closer Edwin Díaz has a torn patellar tendon and is expected to miss the entire season after injuring his right knee while celebrating a victory in the World Baseball Classic.
The Mets announced Thursday night that Díaz underwent surgery earlier in the day. Without going into detail, general manager Billy Eppler said Thursday afternoon that the general recovery time for this type of injury is about eight months.
“There are cases where athletes have returned earlier, more like six months,” Eppler told reporters. “But those are a bit more the exception than the rule.”
The Mets said Díaz is expected to begin a formal rehab program in about a week.
To all my beloved fans, especially Mets fans, I want to let you know that I am fine and receiving treatment, Diaz tweeted Thursday night. “I feel blessed and grateful for your support with messages and prayers, thank you so much! I can’t wait to see you again in NY playing those trumpets.”
Díaz, who turns 29 next week, retired the side in the ninth inning in a 5-2 win over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday night that sent Puerto Rico to the quarterfinals of the World Baseball Classic. As Díaz and his teammates jumped together in the field, the right-hander collapsed and reached for his right leg. He was carried off the field in a wheelchair.
“Edwin Diaz is a great human being and a fierce competitor,” Mets owner Steve Cohen tweeted. “All of us at the Mets are shaken but determined to continue our pursuit of a great season. We wish Edwin a speedy recovery.”
Eppler said he spoke with Diaz several times and noted that the star was in a “great mood.”
“He’s a resilient human being,” Eppler said. “That’s why he’s the closer. The guy doesn’t rattle.”
The Mets re-signed Diaz to a five-year, $102 million deal – his largest ever – after he produced a spectacular season in 2022. All player contracts are covered by insurance through the WBC that covers the length of time a player is sidelined due to an injury sustained during the tournament .
Díaz went 3-1 with a 1.31 ERA and 32 saves in 35 chances while striking out 118 batters in 62 innings last season. He made his second All-Star appearance and finished ninth in NL Cy Young Award voting.
Mets manager Buck Showalter has some relief on the roster with closing experience as the team tries to replace Díaz.
David Robertson has 157 career saves, including 20 last season with the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies. Adam Ottavino has 33 career saves. Brooks Raley had six saves for the Tampa Bay Rays last season.
“My plan coming in here was to throw whenever Buck called me and asked me to go on the field,” Robertson told reporters. “It doesn’t matter to me when I pitch in a game, whether it’s from the fifth to the ninth. If they ask me to cover the ninth, I will do my best.”
Eppler didn’t have details on what exactly caused the injury during the WBC’s postgame celebration, but said torn patellar tendons happen more often in other sports.
“It’s an injury that’s actually common in the NBA and the NFL,” Eppler said. “When you put too much stress on the knee, that can happen.”
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports