New York Mets star closer Edwin Diaz is expected to miss the entire 2023 season because of a knee injury suffered at the World Baseball Classic.
The Mets announced that Diaz has a “full-thickness” tear of the patellar tendon in his right knee and will undergo surgery Thursday afternoon.
General manager Billy Eppler told reporters that the organization will not “update Edwin’s timeline for a while,” but noted that generally recovery from patellar tendon surgery takes eight months.
Diaz, 28, signed a five-year, $102 million contract — a deal that made him Major League Baseball’s highest-paid reliever — this offseason to return to the Mets after enjoying the best season of his seven-year career. The hard-throwing right-hander recorded 32 saves, a 1.31 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 62 innings last season.
Eppler said Diaz was “in good spirits” Thursday ahead of the surgery, which will be performed by Dr. David Altchek.
Diaz suffered the injury Wednesday night during the on-field celebration of Puerto Rico’s victory over the Dominican Republic.
The Puerto Rican players were jumping together in the infield when Diaz collapsed to the ground and quickly reached for his right leg. The two-time All-Star was in tears and did not put any weight on the leg before being taken off the field in a wheelchair.
Diaz’s brother, Cincinnati Reds reliever Alexis Diaz, also was crying as Edwin was taken away. Mets teammate and Puerto Rico shortstop Francisco Lindor stood nearby with his hands on his head.
The loss of Diaz for any period hampers the Mets’ efforts to win their first World Series since 1986 and, in the shorter term, dampens the joy from Puerto Rico’s victory against its rivals in what was a win-or-go-home game.
Diaz, who had told ESPN earlier in the week that the game against the Dominican Republic “will be like Game 7 of the World Series,” struck out the side in the ninth inning on 21 pitches, sending the sold-out crowd of 36,025 at LoanDepot Park into a frenzy.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan and The Associated Press contributed to this report.