Edwin Diaz of Team Puerto Rico leaves the field in a wheelchair after sustaining a torn patellar tendon while celebrating a 5-2 win against Team Dominican Republic during their World Baseball Classic Pool D game at loanDepot park on March 15, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
By Leif Skodnick
World Baseball Network
MIAMI- New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz underwent a successful surgery Thursday to repair a torn patellar tendon in his right knee suffered seconds after closing a 5-2 Puerto Rico win against the Dominican Republic at the World Baseball Classic.
In the midst of the celebration Wednesday night, a circle of Puerto Rico players were jumping up and down around Diaz just off the pitcher’s mound. Diaz, who had just iced the game, suddenly was on the ground, the jumping for joy stopped and his teammates were frantically waving at the dugout.
He was taken off the field in a wheelchair and examined in the clubhouse.
The expected recovery time for Diaz is six to eight months, with the shorter time frame being the very best case scenario. The patellar tendon links the kneecap to the tibia, the main bone of the lower leg.
Edwin Díaz underwent imaging today that revealed a full-thickness tear of the patellar tendon in his right knee. He will have surgery today performed by Dr. David Altchek.— New York Mets (@Mets) March 16, 2023
“Sugar is going through one of the worst moments in his career; however, he gave us a great message in the clubhouse. I told him, ‘You are a warrior,'” Puerto Rico infielder Javier Baez told the media at LoanDepot Park after Puerto Rico worked out on Thursday. “We know what we have to go through to make it here, not only Puerto Ricans, but also all the Latinos. We have to face many difficulties to come here and to be on the right path.”
For the Mets, who signed Diaz to a five-year, $102 million deal with a club option for 2028 just after the close of last season, the injury is a huge blow to a team that has heavily invested in Diaz as well as other players in hopes of making it back to the World Series for the first time since 2015. The new contract made him the highest paid reliever in baseball.
“Edwin Díaz is a great human being and a fierce competitor,” Mets owner Steve Cohen tweeted on Thursday afternoon. “All of us at the Mets are shaken but determined to sustain our quest for a great season. We wish Edwin a speedy recovery.”
For Puerto Rico, the closer spot is now open with a World Baseball Classic semifinal game against Mexico coming tomorrow. One option is Diaz’ brother Alexis, who pitches for Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds.
“We have several options,” said Puerto Rico manager Yadier Molina. “It all depends on the situation of the game. But we have very good games. Underwood, Alexis, could be a closing pitcher, among others. It just depends on the game.”
And Edwin Diaz remains a leader for Puerto Rico even though he won’t see the mound again at this tournament.
“There are many kinds of leaders. Edwin is a closing pitcher,” Baez said. “We only see him at the end of the game. But the way he sees the game, the numbers he has and having a working plan on the game and on the team, is huge. He knows what he’s doing. He knows what to do to help his team.”