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Edwin Díaz suffers torn right patellar tendon celebrating Puerto Rico’s WBC win

A seemingly innocuous celebration will sideline one of baseball’s best relievers for the 2023 season.

Puerto Rico pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) gets taken off the field by pitching coach Ricky Bones (27) after an apparent leg injury during the team celebration against Dominican Republic at LoanDepot Park.  Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets could be without closer Edwin Díaz for the entire 2023 MLB season due to a torn right patellar tendon, Mets general manager Billy Eppler announced. Díaz suffered the injury on Wednesday when jumping up and down with his Puerto Rican teammates on the LoanDepot Park infield after upsetting the Dominican Republic to advance to the World Baseball Classic semifinals. Díaz pitched the ninth inning of the game and struck out all three batters he faced.

A week shy of his 29th birthday, Díaz is arguably the best closer in baseball. He’s certainly being paid like it—following a dominant 2022 campaign (1.31 ERA and 0.90 FIP with 32 SV in 62.0 IP), the Mets re-signed him to a five-year, $102 million contract. Among pitchers with 300-plus career innings pitched, his 40.3% strikeout rate is second-best in MLB history, trailing only Josh Hader (43.2 K%).

Díaz has been in the National League East division since 2019. During that span, no other pitcher has faced the Marlins more often (30 appearances). He also has twice as many games finished against the Fish (22) as anybody else.

This is already the second unorthodox injury to afflict one of the veteran Mets players this spring. Left-handed starter José Quintana is expected to be out until at least July following bone graft surgery.

We are just two weeks away from the Mets opening their 2023 regular season against the Marlins. Without Díaz, they’ll presumably rely heavily on Adam Ottavino and/or David Robertson in save situations.

Puerto Rico continues its tournament run with a quarterfinals matchup against Mexico on Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Díaz’s absence slightly increases the likelihood that Marlins right-hander Anthony Maldonado could contribute out of the bullpen in a high-leverage situation.