Mets star closer Diaz ‘fully healthy’ for 2024

MLB

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The New York Mets should be getting their All-Star closer back for the 2024 season as righty Edwin Diaz is on schedule to return from a knee injury he suffered during the World Baseball Classic last spring.

Diaz, 29, missed the entire 2023 season after tearing the patellar tendon in his right knee while celebrating a victory on the field for Team Puerto Rico.

“He can’t wait to get going,” new Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said on Monday from the winter meetings. “I spoke with him a couple of weeks ago. Fully healthy, he’s going through his offseason routines and preparation. He’s excited.”

Before getting hurt, Diaz was coming off one of the best seasons ever for a reliever in 2022, garnering both Cy Young and MVP votes after saving 32 games while compiling a 1.31 ERA. He was supposed to be the back-end anchor for a playoff contender last year, but, instead, his injury was just the first of many things to go wrong for New York, eventually leading the front office to break up the team.

Mendoza was asked if he anticipates Diaz having a normal spring training as he continues his recovery.

“Yeah, I think … we’ll maybe we use that as like rehab assignment if you want to call it,” Mendoza said. “But it’s something that we have to take our time and make sure that he’s bouncing back. But the communication … between us and the player, in this case Edwin, is going to be important.”

Diaz had become a fan favorite over his first four years with the Mets, famously taking the mound in save situations to the song “Narco” with Timmy Trumpet performing, including a live performance during one game. His loss to injury took some life out of the Mets, who seemingly never recovered.

New York’s bullpen ranked 22nd in ERA last year. Diaz has a career 2.93 ERA over seven seasons and 205 saves. He’ll resume his role as the team’s closer, assuming a healthy spring training.

“That’s another guy that’s been going back and forth, home and Puerto Rico and New York, getting checked out,” Mendoza said. “He’s one of those where we can’t wait to have him in spring training and get him going.”

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