Puerto Rico pitcher Edwin Diaz is helped by team pitching coach...

Puerto Rico pitcher Edwin Diaz is helped by team pitching coach Ricky Bones and medical staff after a World Baseball Classic game against the Dominican Republic on Wednesday in Miami. Credit: AP/David Santiago

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Edwin Diaz’s WBC celebration injury was as bad as it looked.

Diaz, the Mets’ closer, likely will miss the entire season after suffering a “full-thickness tear” of the patellar tendon in his right knee during Puerto Rico’s on-field celebration after a World Baseball Classic victory over the Dominican Republic in Miami on Wednesday night.

Mets general manager Billy Eppler made the announcement at Clover Park on Thursday. Diaz had surgery on Thursday at the Hospital for Special Surgery Florida in West Palm Beach.

Eppler said the “general” timeline for recovery from the injury and surgery is eight months. That would take Diaz to mid-November.


Mets closer Edwin Diaz will likely miss the entire 2023 season after he suffered a "full-thickness tear" of the patellar tendon in his right knee.

The injury occurred during Puerto Rico's on-field celebration after a World Baseball Classic victory over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday night.

Mets general manager Billy Eppler said the “general” timeline for recovery from this type of injury and surgery is eight months.  

Mets owner Steve Cohen, on Thursday afternoon, posted on Twitter: “Edwin Diaz is a great human being and a fierce competitor. All of us at the Mets are shaken but determined to sustain our quest for a great season. We wish Edwin a speedy recovery.”

The diagnosis was not shocking to Mets fans who feared the worst when they saw video of Diaz being taken off on a wheelchair.

Eppler said he wasn’t sure exactly how or when Diaz was injured during the scrum after recording the final out of the victory that earned Puerto Rico a spot in the WBC quarterfinals.

“I don’t know specifics,” Eppler said. “I’ve heard a couple of different stories, but just kind of dealing more with our doctors and debriefing Steve and Alex Cohen, talking to Edwin, taking to coaches.”

Eppler said he was told the injury occurs “when you get excessive load put on your knee.”

Said Mets manager Buck Showalter: “It’s like, ‘How did it happen?’ Who cares? I don’t really care. You’ve got people that are trying to figure out who . . . nobody’s at fault. That’s a world I choose not to live in. Trying to cast blame and all that other stuff. It is what it is. Could have happened 20 times last year in some of the celebrations we had.”

As for the timeline for Diaz’s return, spring training 2024 is the most likely outcome, though there is a small chance Diaz could return late this season.

“As far as a general timeline, we can’t really give specifics,” Eppler said. “It depends on what they see when they go in for the surgery and then what the days after look like, so I’m just going to give a general timeline for a surgery like this is about eight months.

“There are instances where athletes come back earlier, more around the six-month mark, but those are a little bit more of the exception than the rule. And so, in this case, we won’t update Edwin’s timeline for a while.”

What’s infuriating for Mets fans is that Diaz — who is the best closer in baseball and signed a five-year, $102 million contract in the offseason to remain with the team — was injured while participating in a tournament that has nothing to do with the Mets’ hopes of winning a World Series.

If the Mets feel the same way, Eppler didn’t share that. All he would say is that the club has only limited rights to stop a player from playing in the WBC, as the Mets did with outfielder Starling Marte. He wanted to go and the Mets were able to veto that because he had double groin surgery in the offseason.

As for the larger issue of whether the risk of injury during the WBC is worth it, Eppler did not comment.

Said Showalter: “Obviously, everybody’s got some personal thoughts. I don’t think this is the time that I’m going to express those type of things. We can sit here and you guys can debate all that. I’m not going to get involved in all that stuff with the WBC. It’s something that you know a lot of different teams, not just us, are participating in, and they understand the risk involved.”

For now, the Mets are trying to pick up the pieces after losing one of the keys to their recent success in such a devastating manner. David Robertson has the most closing experience of the remaining relievers, but Showalter would not commit to a firm plan.

At least Diaz is “to nobody’s surprise . . . in great spirits, actually,” Eppler said. “He is a resilient human being. That’s why he is the closer he is. Doesn’t get rattled. [Wednesday] night, when he talked to me on the phone, he’s like, ‘Don’t worry, this is going to be fine. I’m fine. Doesn’t hurt.’ That’s just the guy, that’s the athlete we’ve come to love.”

Brandon Nimmo, who injured a hamstring while playing for Team Italy in the 2017 WBC and declined to go this year, said of Diaz: “Obviously, when I saw him on the ground, I thought, ‘Oh, no, no, no. This can’t be happening.’ ”

It happened.

 With Tim Healey

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