Edwin Diaz #39 of the New York Mets flips the...

Edwin Diaz #39 of the New York Mets flips the ball to first base for the second out of the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Citi Field on Sunday, Apr. 14, 2024 in the Queens borough of New York City. Credit: Jim McIsaac

LOS ANGELES — Edwin Diaz’s velocity is down, his mechanics are a little off, and he still has been excellent.

Not bad for the first weeks back after a season-long layoff due to injury.

“I didn’t think that after one year off it would be so hard to come back and be the same guy,” Diaz said Friday at Dodger Stadium. “As of right now, I’ve been having good results. But I know I’m not there yet. I’m not the same as 2022.”

This in-season ramp-up period surprised Diaz, but he isn’t concerned about it. His and the Mets’ explanation is the obvious one: After he missed all of 2023 because of a torn patellar tendon in his right knee, he still has to round back into game form.

As he gets stronger by continuing to pitch, the velocity will come back, Diaz said.

Heading into the Mets’ weekend series with the Dodgers, Diaz’s fastball averaged 96.6 mph, down from 99.1 in 2022. His slider was at 89 mph, down from 90.8.

“I’m OK with that. We’re OK with that,” he said. “As soon my arm gets in the shape we want it, everything will click again. I’m not worried. I’m getting outs. It’s working for me.”


Indeed it is. He is a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities and has a 1.29 ERA and 0.57 WHIP in seven appearances.

Diaz also has been fine-tuning his mechanics, including being more direct to the plate instead of side-to-side, which he said has been a problem early this season.

Chalk it up again to rust.

“I didn’t know how long it would take,” Diaz said. “They told me it’s going to take some time. I asked the trainer, what do you guys think about this? ‘That can be normal.’ I’ve been working with them a lot. Soon, we will have my velo again.”

Alvarez exits

Francisco Alvarez left Friday night's Mets game against the Dodgers after hurting his left thumb in the second inning.

He reached base when Los Angeles catcher Will Smith threw his dribbler over first baseman Freddie Freeman’s head and down the rightfield line. As Alvarez rounded first base, he stumbled, catching himself with his left hand but appearing to jam his thumb.

Upon reaching second, he was in obvious pain and immediately called for manager Carlos Mendoza and an athletic trainer. He stayed in the game — and scored — but departed prior to the bottom of the second. Omar Narvaez replaced him behind the plate.

Whirlwind for Tonkin

Mets reliever Michael Tonkin has pitched professionally for over a decade, including for teams in Japan, Suffolk County, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

But these past couple of weeks? Cut by the Mets, traded to the Twins, cut by the Twins, claimed off waivers by the Mets?

“It’s pretty unusual,” he said. “A little chaotic.”

After he pitched in one game for the Twins in Detroit last week, they designated him for assignment. But instead of going home, he headed to Minneapolis, because that is where his wife and their 2- and 4-year-old kids were waiting for him.

Their stuff — packed up from their New York apartment — hasn’t even arrived in Minneapolis yet. When it gets there, he doesn’t know where to ship it next, Tonkin said.

For now, he is in California, re-added to the active roster Friday. The Mets sent Grant Hartwig back to Triple-A Syracuse to clear a spot on the roster. But as this month has shown, job security can be fickle for the last couple of arms in the bullpen.

That apartment in New York? The Tonkins canceled the lease when the Mets dumped him, he said.

“He’s been around for a long time,” Mendoza said. “It’s not the first time, obviously. Just happy to have him back. He knows the situation, he knows it’s a business. He’s ready to go.”

Or as Tonkin put it: “It’s a lot.”

Extra bases

Injury updates via Mendoza: Brett Baty (left hamstring tightness) went through a full pregame defensive/batting practice routine. He still is day-to-day and the Mets still expect him to avoid the injured list . . . Tylor Megill (strained right shoulder) completed his first bullpen session Friday. Kodai Senga (also a strained right shoulder) did his second . . . David Peterson (hip surgery in November) is due to begin a minor-league rehabilitation assignment within a week or so . . . Mets owner Steve Cohen, making his usual LA visit when his team does, was on the field chatting with players and other personnel during batting practice. He also talked to Scott Boras, agent for Pete Alonso and others.


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