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Luis Rojas trusts Mets closer Edwin Diaz, but he has his limits

Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz and catcher James

Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz and catcher James McCann celebrate their 7-6 win against the Yankees in an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Luis Rojas still is saying all of the right things about closer Edwin Diaz, from his "special" fastball to "always" believing in him to refusing to intentionally walk hitters while he is pitching.

But in a business where actions speak louder than words, Rojas quietly lifted the lid off the proverbial in-case-of-emergency button, refraining from smashing it. He took the highly unusual step of having another reliever, in this case Trevor May, warm up behind Diaz on Sunday night.

Diaz wound up finishing the one-run win against the Yankees after a single, walk and passed ball put runners on second and third.

"If maybe a sequence of walks, if he would’ve lost his command, I think we were probably going to make a move," Rojas said, explaining May’s presence. "But nothing more."


Diaz’s past four outings have gone: blown save, blown save, loss in extra innings and nail-biting save. His season ERA is 3.81.

The Mets still trust Diaz, Rojas said. But not so much that they didn’t have someone else getting ready.

"Maybe having a guy ready early just in case there was two, three walks, talking about a tie game now at this point," Rojas said. "We were probably going to go to May if that was the case."

Umpire Valentine OK

First-base umpire Junior Valentine was OK after getting hit in the face by Cardinals shortstop Edmundo Sosa’s errant throw during the Cardinals’ 7-0 victory over the Mets on Monday night. Valentine was watching first base intently and never saw the throw coming after Sosa spun and fired the ball wildly.

"He’s been checked out and has no broken bones," crew chief Jerry Meals said in a statement. "He was incredibly alert from the get-go. The blood seemed to stop fairly quickly, thankfully, and he was adamant that he was fine."

Whistling Wandy

The Mets would not ask MLB to review the Yankees’ whistling, viewed by the Mets as sketchy, from over the weekend, Rojas said.

The Mets thought the Yankees were doing it to communicate stolen pitch signs. The Yankees pinned it on Wandy Peralta, who they said whistles to cheer on teammates.

"At this point, we’re past that," Rojas said. "We don’t need to call MLB or anything because there’s nothing illegal about it."

Extra bases

The Mets plan to activate Tomas Nido (sprained left thumb) from the injured list on Tuesday after his two-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Syracuse . . . Brandon Nimmo (strained right hamstring) practiced running the bases Monday, his first time doing so since getting hurt . . . Noah Syndergaard will throw live batting practice "in a couple of days," Rojas said . . . Former manager Terry Collins was at Citi Field on Monday — and will be all week — as he works the Mets’ radio broadcasts.

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