Mets teammates react to Edwin Diaz’s devastating injury: ‘I’m really hurting for him’
The Mets received some devastating news on Thursday, as an MRI revealed that Edwin Diaz has suffered a patella tendon tear in his right knee. He will undergo surgery and will likely miss the entire season.
Diaz suffered the injury in the midst of team Puerto Rico’s celebration after he closed down a 5-2 win over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday night in the World Baseball Classic. He went for additional testing on Thursday, and that confirmed the worst.
Now, Buck Showalter’s squad will be without their All-Star closer moving forward. Diaz’s teammates expressed their thoughts on the injury while speaking with reporters on Thursday.
"When I saw him on the ground, I thought no no no, this can not be happening. I was hoping it was better than it was looking, but it doesn’t appear to be," Brandon Nimmo said. "Very unfortunate. I’m really hurting for Edwin."
Said Justin Verlander:
"Tough blow, one of the best closers in baseball, if not the best."
Diaz certainly pitched like the best closer in the game last season. He received both Cy Young and MVP votes after recording 32 saves, posting a 1.31 ERA, and striking out a little over 50 percent of the batters he faced.
Losing Diaz is certainly a blow to the back end of the Mets' bullpen. Despite that, they remain confident in each other to step up and get the job done.
"I don’t think you can ever fully replace who Edwin Diaz is and the player that he is," Nimmo said. He was the best closer in baseball last year, there’s no doubt about that. But we’re very fortunate that we have guys on this staff that are very good at their jobs. We have very good bullpen arms who have done this for a long time."
Among that group is right-hander David Robertson. The veteran is expected to jump into the closer's role in Diaz's place, and he says he's ready and willing to pitch whenever needed.
"I’ll do whatever’s asked of me, I’m not picky about it. I came here to try to win a World Series, so if pitching in the sixth or seventh inning or ninth inning is when I have to pitch, that’s fine with me. I’ll do whatever it takes to help this team win," Robertson said.
While replacing a player of Diaz’s caliber is close to impossible, Verlander says all the team can do now is move forward and remain positive.
"Sometimes the best moments come from tough situations. Hopefully at the end of the year we can be standing there victorious and Edwin can be up there with us and we can all celebrate together."
Mets star shortstop Francisco Lindor also spoke about losing his team Puerto Rico teammate, saying that he understands fans may be upset about Diaz's injury occurring in the WBC, but explained how important the tournament is to players.
"I understand how Mets fans are hurting," Lindor told ESPN. "But while for so many people the regular season is what counts, playing in the WBC means just as much to all of us. It is the dream of every Puerto Rican ballplayer to wear Puerto Rico’s colors and to represent our country. And not only Puerto Ricans, but every player in the WBC considers being here the ultimate honor.
"We don’t want injuries to happen, but it is part of the game. Of course, this is sad for all Mets fans. And I want to thank them for being so concerned about us, and about Edwin, and I really do also feel your pain."