Mets’ Edwin Díaz injured celebrating Puerto Rico’s WBC win

March 16, 2023

New York Mets fans began the year dreaming about a World Series closed out by Edwin Díaz. For now, they’re facing a potential nightmare.

In a startling scene, Díaz was taken off the field in a wheelchair after injuring his right knee celebrating Puerto Rico’s victory over the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday night. There was no immediate word on how severely Díaz was hurt — the Mets said he will undergo more tests Thursday. But the way his teammates stood around him in shock didn’t look encouraging.

The injury was exactly what big league teams and their fans fear the most when their high-priced stars go play for their countries in the WBC. Díaz signed a $102 million, five-year deal in November. No matter what, this setback was sure to set off spirited debate about whether the tournament, which started in 2006 and was held every three or four years until a cancellation in 2021, is worth it.

“Those things, they can happen to anybody at any given time,” said Los Angeles Dodgers star outfielder Mookie Betts, who was playing for the United States when Díaz was hurt. “You can always try to place blame on the WBC, but that was just a freak accident that could happen to anyone at any given time,” he said.

Mets teammates Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil also were with the U.S. team in a game against Colombia when a coach told them about Díaz. “It’s just really heartbreaking to hear about Edwin,” Alonso said after a 3-2 win in Phoenix.

“Every day you show up to the yard, there’s a possibility of getting hurt. There’s hazard in the job. Anyone can get hurt at any given time. Anything can happen,” he said. “That’s the risk we run playing baseball. We’re athletes and injuries are unfortunately part of the game.” It’s true that injuries can happen anytime in baseball. Infielder Gavin Lux tore his knee in a recent exhibition game for the Dodgers and is out for the season. Los Angeles teammate Freddie Freeman hurt his hamstring this week playing for Canada.

Still, the intensity of many WBC games is what often scares MLB teams about seeing their players in this event. “Obviously there’s risk involved,” three-time AL MVP Mike Trout of the Angels said after helping the U.S. win. “You’re still playing baseball, and it’s spring training.”

Díaz was swarmed by teammates after pitching a perfect ninth inning in a 5-2 win that clinched Puerto Rico a spot in the WBC quarterfinals. The group was jumping together in the infield when the right-hander collapsed to the ground, and he immediately reached for his right leg. As famous for his trumpet-driven entrance music as his dominant pitching, Díaz was in tears and did not put any weight on his right leg as a coach and trainer helped him limp toward the dugout.

Díaz’s brother, Reds pitcher Alexis Díaz, was also crying as Edwin was put in a chair and wheeled away. Mets teammate and Puerto Rico shortstop Francisco Lindor stood nearby with his hands on his head. .

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Miguel Rivera Author

Miguel Rivera, dedicated Puerto Rican journalist, passionately tells stories, amplifying voices, fostering change, and connecting communities through insightful reporting.