Edwin Diaz’s Injury Is a Gut Punch for Players, Coaches and Fans Alike
For Edwin Diaz, Wednesday night was supposed to be unforgettable for all the right reasons. However, the shouts of joy over his team’s historic victory in the World Baseball Classic soon turned to despair.
Together with his team, Puerto Rico’s two-time all-star closer was celebrating Puerto Rico’s 5-2 victory over the Dominican Republic. But suddenly, his teammates stopped bouncing as Francisco Lindor and Edwin Diaz’s brother, Alexis, fell to their knees.
Diaz was sitting on the ground with deep pain etched on his face.
Amidst confused doctors and panicked faces, Diaz tried to leave the field but was unable to walk.
While it is still unclear what happened, the closer’s manager, Yadier Molina, told reporters he believed the problem was Diaz’s right knee.
“I was hugging our coaches in the dugout,” Molina said. “Then, when we looked up, Edwin was on the ground.”
When life throws you a curveball
Last Wednesday’s game was one of the most anticipated by baseball fans and professionals alike. World championship titans Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic faced off in one of the most exciting games in years.
For Edwin Diaz, playing for his national team was a proud moment.
The Puerto Rican player became the highest-paid reliever in history this offseason by signing a five-year, $102 million contract with the Mets. He still wanted to play for his island team.
“As excited as we were about the game and all that, it’s one of our brothers. Some of us grew up together and all that,” said Puerto Rico outfielder Kiké Hernandez. “It’s real easy to set aside the game and worry about us as humans. So it definitely doesn’t feel like we just beat the Dominican Republic to advance.”
“Aside from being the best closer in the game right now and being a huge part of this team,” Hernandez said.
“He has a really big bank account, but his heart is way bigger than his bank account is,” he added. “He’s one of the really special human beings we got in that clubhouse.”
An unprecedented talent
Born in the Naguabo neighborhood of Puerto Rico, Edwin Diaz has played baseball all his life. While growing up in Puerto Rico, Diaz played outfield during his youth alongside other stars such as Carlos Correa and Jose Berrios.
Once his father convinced him to pitch, his life changed completely.
The Seattle Mariners drafted Diaz to the minor leagues in 2012. Before the 2014 season, he was named the team’s fifth-best prospect.
He subsequently played with the Clinton LumberKings, the Bakersfield Blaze, and the Jackson Generals.
In 2016, the Seattle Mariners called Edwin Diaz up to the Major Leagues for the first time. He recorded ten consecutive outs via strikeout, tying a record and putting his name on the radar.
Since then, he has broken consecutive records and received awards every season.
On December 3, 2018, the Mariners traded Diaz, Robinson Canó, and $20 million to the New York Mets for Jay Bruce, Jarred Kelenic, Anthony Swarzak, Gerson Bautista, and Justin Dunn. Edwin Diaz recorded his first save as a Met on Opening Day against the Washington Nationals.
On September 26, 2019, Diaz allowed his 15th ninth-inning home run of the season, the most ninth-inning home runs given up by a single pitcher in a single season in Major League history.
Two years later, he was named an All-Star for the second time in his career.
On November 9, 2022, Diaz signed a 5-year contract with the Mets worth $102 million, the most valuable contract ever signed by a relief pitcher.
After last Wednesday’s game, the sport is mourning the possibility that one of the biggest stars in history may not be able to return to the mound any time soon.