Puerto Rico pitcher Edwin Diaz leaves in a wheelchair after...

Puerto Rico pitcher Edwin Diaz leaves in a wheelchair after a World Baseball Classic game against the Dominican Republic on Wednesday in Miami. Credit: AP/David Santiago

TAMPA, Fla. — Hal Steinbrenner felt for his crosstown counterpart, Steve Cohen.

“I feel bad for the Mets,” the Yankees’ managing general partner told Newsday on Thursday afternoon, referring to the likely season-ending injury suffered by closer Edwin Diaz after Puerto Rico’s upset victory over the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic on  Wednesday night.

Still, the injury didn’t change  Steinbrenner's view when it comes to the WBC, an event he has long supported.  

“The reality is people are going to point to the WBC because the celebration wouldn't have been happening in a spring training game,” Steinbrenner said. “But the reality is ballplayers can get hurt any place at any time. I mean, look at Michael King last year, what happened to us. Unfortunately, it happens. But I feel for the Mets because that’s a tough loss.”

King, at the time one of the top relievers in the game, walked off the mound in Baltimore last July 22 after suffering a right elbow fracture while throwing a pitch. The injury ended his season.

The Yankees have three players participating in this year’s WBC, which Steinbrenner called “globally good for the game.”

Reliever Jonathan Loaisiga, who pitched for Nicaragua, returned to the club Thursday after his home country failed to qualify for the quarterfinals. Backup catcher Kyle Higashioka is playing for Team USA, which qualified for the quarterfinals, and second baseman Gleyber Torres is playing for Venezuela, which went 4-0 in Miami and also is a quarterfinalist.

When asked if the kind of injury Diaz suffered made him reconsider his players’ participation in any way, Steinbrenner responded with an emphatic “no.”

“Look, the WBC is great for baseball, it’s great for the game. It’s exciting,” he said. “There were times where my dad was worried about just this [kind of thing] happening, but the reality is baseball needs it. Any of our players that come to us wanting to do it, we don’t discourage them in any way, shape or form. If they have an injury history, if there’s something we’re concerned about, then we talk to baseball the way everybody else does, every other team does . . . There are conversations like that that happen with every club. But if somebody wants to go, like Loaisiga felt really strongly about it, we support them.”

Like Loaisiga, Luis Severino very much wanted to play for his country, in this case the Dominican Republic, but because of his extensive injury history from 2018-21, the Yankees did not give him permission. After talking it through with general manager Brian Cashman, Severino, ultimately understood the club’s reasoning and accepted it.

The most recent Yankee to get seriously injured in the event was Mark Teixeira, who in 2013 suffered a partially torn tendon sheath in his right wrist while swinging in the cage for Team USA shortly after reporting to Arizona. Teixeira eventually required season-ending surgery, the beginning of a series of health issues that plagued him the rest of his career, which ended after the 2016 season.  

Teixeira, however, said his situation shouldn’t be used as any kind of evidence that the tournament should be abolished.

“Tough to see what happened to Edwin, but that was a freak accident,” Teixeira, a three-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner, said Thursday via text. “I really don’t think there’s a problem with the WBC. Plenty of non-WBC Yanks have been hurt this spring. It’s a nice exhibition every four years and hopefully players stay healthy. This was just a tough break.”

Aaron Boone did not see the Diaz injury live, as he had already gone to bed.

“Awful,” he said. “And I hope that doesn’t get . . . tied to the WBC. That’s not a pitcher blowing out because he was throwing high-leverage playoff innings in March and got hurt. That’s a freak thing . . . But I felt terrible. Bad way to wake up.”

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