Edwin Diaz’s Puerto Rico teammates react to closer's injury: ‘It sucks’
It was supposed to be a joyous moment for Edwin Diaz, Francisco Lindor and the rest of Team Puerto Rico on Wednesday night.
They had just defeated the mighty Dominican Republic team, 5-2, to not only advance to the 2023 World Baseball Classic quarterfinals but eliminate their rivals in the process. Unfortunately, smiles turned to tears as Diaz, in the midst of the team’s celebration, injured his knee.
His teammates surrounded him, confused and shocked as Diaz’s younger brother, Alexis, was visibly crying. The 28-year-old had to be wheelchaired into the dugout, putting a damper on what was an exciting game in Miami.
Diaz was a massive part of that win, closing the door on the Dominicans by striking out all three batters he faced. What ensued was a joyous celebration on the field and in the dugout.
“I was hugging our coaches in the dugout. Then when we looked up, Edwin was on the ground,” Puerto Rico manager Yadier Molina said. “I didn’t know. I didn’t know how to act, I didn’t know how to — what to say. I mean, I didn’t know. It got me for a surprise.”
Outfielder Kiké Hernández called the locker room “quiet” after the game as Diaz’s teammates waited to hear his diagnosis.
Diaz was taken for an X-ray at the stadium, and the Mets put out a statement hours later stating that the reliever injured his right knee and he will undergo further imaging Thursday.
“It comes to a certain point that it’s bigger than the game and something very unfortunate happened,” Hernandez said. “As excited as we were about the game and all that, that's one of our brothers … It’s really easy to set aside the game and worry about us as humans. It definitely doesn’t feel in there like we defeated the Dominican Republic to advance.”
“It sucks, when you see a guy that works so hard like Edwin. When you see him on the ground like that. It’s sad,” Molina said.
While the severity of Diaz’s injury is unknown it’s likely that his WBC is over. With the tournament set to end this weekend, Puerto Rico will have to continue without their closer and the guy who brings the clubhouse together.
“Sugar is one of the glue guys in that clubhouse... he has a really big bank account but his heart is way bigger than his bank account,” Hernandez said of Diaz. “He's one of the really special human beings we've got in that clubhouse.”
Last season for the Mets, Diaz saved 32 games and posted a miniscule 1.31 ERA en route to an All-Star selection, garnering Cy Young and MVP votes in the process.