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Mets Closer Will Miss Season After Injuring During Celebration

Edwin Díaz collapsed after closing out Puerto Rico’s win over the Dominican Republic within the World Baseball Basic. Restoration from knee surgical procedure will take eight months.

MIAMI — A rousing 5-2 victory by Puerto Rico over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday earned the group a spot within the quarterfinals of the World Baseball Basic. However the elation rapidly become despair when the star nearer Edwin Díaz crumbled to the bottom throughout a postgame celebration on the mound.

Díaz’s teammates fashioned a circle round him, hanging their heads or crying. As a substitute of heading to the clubhouse at loanDepot Park to pack up their luggage, Dominican gamers lingered within the dugout, surprised on the scene on the sphere. And when Díaz, 28, lastly stood up, he was first carried after which wheeled off the sphere, unable to place any weight on his proper leg.

Díaz, who signed a record-setting five-year, $102 million deal this low season to stay with the Mets, sustained an entire tear of the patellar tendon in his proper knee and can bear surgical procedure on Thursday, the group stated. Mets Basic Supervisor Billy Eppler instructed reporters {that a} normal timeline for a return is roughly eight months.

“Edwin Diaz is a superb human being and a fierce competitor,” Mets proprietor Steven A. Cohen wrote on Twitter. “All of us on the Mets are shaken however decided to maintain our quest for a terrific season. We want Edwin a speedy restoration.”

Díaz’s damage got here after a extremely anticipated do-or-die matchup between two baseball powerhouses, which had lived as much as expectations. The groups performed in entrance of a thunderous sellout crowd of 36,025 folks, and Puerto Rico, the runners-up within the earlier two installments of the match in 2013 and ’17, knocked out the Dominican Republic, a group of superstars that was one of many favorites.

However Díaz’s collapse erased these feelings and renewed the damage considerations that encompass the match, which is held each 4 years and lasts two weeks throughout Main League Baseball’s spring coaching. It additionally dealt an enormous blow to the Mets, a group that’s getting into the yr with World Sequence aspirations.

“As excited as we have been in regards to the sport and all that, it’s considered one of our brothers,” stated Puerto Rico heart fielder Enrique Hernández, a Boston Pink Sox participant.

A number of high gamers, a lot of them pitchers, declined to take part within the W.B.C. or have been denied permission to play by their M.L.B. groups. Some cited damage considerations — present or potential — as their motive. Groups usually fear that gamers need to ramp up sooner than ordinary earlier than the 162-game common season to compete in video games that matter way more than spring coaching exhibition contests. (Gamers are required to be lined by insurance coverage to compete within the W.B.C.)

Díaz didn’t seem to harm himself whereas pitching on Wednesday. He fired his trademark 100-mile-per-hour fastballs and depraved sliders to strike out the aspect within the ninth inning and didn’t look like in ache earlier than the celebration started.

After the ultimate out, Díaz hugged his brother, Alexis, a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. They have been joined by different teammates, and with their arms round one another, they bounced up and down in a reasonably tame celebration. However then Díaz collapsed to the bottom, and teammates signaled instantly for the coaching workers to come back out.

Off to the aspect, Puerto Rico captain Francisco Lindor, a fellow Met, regarded on the floor whereas hunched over. Robinson Canó, the Dominican infielder and former Met, held his arms on his head. Tears streamed down Díaz’s brother’s face.

Puerto Rico Supervisor Yadier Molina stated he didn’t see what occurred to Díaz as a result of he was hugging his coaches within the dugout after the ultimate out. When he regarded up, he was shocked to see Díaz on the bottom.

Molina added later about postgame celebrations, “If something goes to occur, it should occur. Celebrations exist ever since I used to be born. It’s God’s will. I simply hope that Edwin goes to be OK, that his household is OK and we’re praying for him.”

Behind eight pitchers, Puerto Rico neutralized a star-studded Dominican Republic offense and performed cleaner protection. On the plate, Puerto Rico designated hitter Christian Vázquez homered, whereas Hernández and Lindor every added two hits. With the win, Puerto Rico superior to the quarterfinals because the runner-up of Pool D and can face Mexico, which gained Pool C, on Saturday in Miami.

Within the tunnel exterior the Puerto Rico clubhouse after the sport, Díaz’s brother and oldsters, in tears, have been escorted away.

“Other than being the very best nearer within the sport proper now, and being an enormous a part of this group, Sugar is likely one of the glue guys in that clubhouse,” Hernández stated, referring to Díaz by his nickname. He famous that Díaz, who saved 32 video games for the Mets every of the previous two seasons, helped set up dinners and gatherings for the Puerto Rican group.

“He has a extremely large checking account, however his coronary heart is approach greater,” Hernández stated, including later in regards to the damage, “The truth that it was him, it’s an enormous blow in additional methods than one.”

What We’ve Discovered (So Far) on the World Baseball Basic

Shohei Ohtani and Japan are a juggernaut, the Netherlands look powerful, time zones might be complicated and an unfamiliar streaming service seems to be figuring out.

After a six-year wait, the World Baseball Basic roared to life once more this week, with group play beginning in Japan and Taiwan. Among the match’s favorites, like the US, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, don’t start play till Saturday — their video games are in Arizona and Florida — however the motion in Asia has been every part the baseball world may hope for. Japan seems like a juggernaut, the Netherlands is off to a quick begin and loads of different groups are making a powerful impression.

Japan’s pitching is deep. So is its lineup. Enjoying at residence in Tokyo, Japan rolled out the two-way famous person Shohei Ohtani because the group’s beginning pitcher in an 8-1 win over China, then had Yu Darvish, a five-time M.L.B. All-Star, begin a 13-4 win over Korea. The group is 2-0 and has outscored its opponents by 21-5, regardless of the phenom Roki Sasaki — maybe the participant American viewers are most desperate to see on this match — not having touched the ball. Sasaki might begin for Japan in opposition to the scrappy Czech Republic squad on Saturday and would probably get loads of run help from a loaded lineup that features Ohtani (4 for 7 with three R.B.I.), Masataka Yoshida (3 for six with 5 R.B.I.) and Lars Nootbaar (4 for 8 with 4 runs scored).

Dwelling-field benefit makes a distinction. When China performed the Czech Republic in Tokyo — an thrilling sport that the Czechs got here from behind to win by way of Martin Muzik’s three-run homer within the ninth — you’d have thought you have been watching a sport with excessive pandemic restrictions, because the small and sleepy crowd was gathered behind residence plate, and the stands that have been seen throughout sport motion have been largely empty. It couldn’t have been extra totally different when Chinese language-Taipei hosted Italy in Taiwan, with a boisterous residence crowd serving to to gasoline a come-from-behind 11-7 win that had the distinct really feel of a playoff sport.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands — emphasis on Kingdom — is flourishing. Xander Bogaerts is from Aruba, Jurickson Profar is from Curaçao and Josh Palacios is from the US, however all of them certified to play internationally for the Netherlands, and the group regarded extraordinarily stout in constructing a 2-0 document in group play over the primary two days of the match. Ranked No. 7 on the earth, the Netherlands additionally has loads of gamers born within the nation, together with Didi Gregorius, the previous Yankees shortstop, who was born in Amsterdam.

After the Netherlands, Group A is chaos. Italy, ranked No. 16 on the earth and managed by the Corridor of Famer Mike Piazza, pulled off an upset of No. 8-ranked Cuba in its first sport, then took an early lead over No. 2-ranked Chinese language-Taipei in its second sport, however finally misplaced. In consequence, the Netherlands leads Group A with a 2-0 document, whereas the opposite 4 groups every have precisely one win earlier than the Panama-Italy sport, which is scheduled to start out at 11 p.m. Japanese on Friday (Saturday at midday in Taipei). Amusingly sufficient, the Netherlands, with seven runs over two video games, is by far the bottom scoring group in its group.

The W.B.C. is a superb place to see guys you forgot about. Matt Harvey, who didn’t seem within the majors in 2022 due to a mix of a drug-related suspension and never being superb at baseball anymore, began Italy’s win within the group’s opener and threw three scoreless innings. Among the many batters he retired? The previous Mets star Yoenis Céspedes, who has not appeared within the majors since 2020 however is among the many main leaguers, previous and current, who’ve been allowed to swimsuit up for Cuba below the group’s evolving insurance policies, which nonetheless exclude a majority of the nation’s most distinguished stars.

Tubi exists. And appears … tremendous? Followers who’ve grown accustomed to M.L.B.’s strong At Bat streaming service might have been alarmed after they noticed that W.B.C. video games can be streamed on Tubi, a service not precisely identified for dwell sports activities (and never identified in any respect by loads of folks). To this point, any fears have proved unwarranted. Signal-ups are easy and free, the video games are straightforward sufficient to seek out and the standard of the broadcasts has been excellent. Many of the video games are on old school tv — Fox, FS1 and FS2 — as properly.

Time zones are making issues bizarre. For viewers in the US, the schedule of video games in Asia has created some busy days. On Tuesday morning, American viewers noticed Panama beat Chinese language-Taipei, after which on Tuesday night time, they noticed the identical Panama squad lose to the Netherlands. The subsequent day, Cuba misplaced to Italy within the U.S. morning after which beat Panama with a sport broadcast that night. However not less than these groups cut up their video games: Due to Muzik’s clutch residence run for the Czech Republic, China went 0-2 and was outscored 16-6 throughout two video games that have been each broadcast dwell within the U.S. on Thursday.

Issues are simply getting began. 4 thrilling days of top-notch baseball have been nice, but most of the high groups have but to even take the sphere. Issues ought to decide up even additional on Saturday, when Puerto Rico and the US are each taking part in video games they’re anticipated to win pretty simply. A much more aggressive matchup? The Nelson Cruz-built Dream Crew from the Dominican Republic going through a loaded squad from Venezuela in Miami.

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