March 16, 2023 | 9:55 pm
PORT ST. LUCIE – The Mets will not pay Edwin Diaz during his time on the injured list, after he underwent surgery on Thursday to repair the patellar tendon in his right knee.
Instead, the responsibility lies with MLB (through insurance provisions) because Diaz’s injury occurred during his participation in the World Baseball Classic.
Diaz will receive $17.25 million this season, which would be fully covered by MLB insurance if Diaz does not return to pitch this year. Mets general manager Billy Eppler has indicated that the right-hander will likely need eight months to rehab.
Mark Teixeira returned to the Yankees from the WBC in 2013 with a wrist injury and MLB insurance provisions covered his salary for the two months he spent with the IL.
Diaz’s knee injury occurred during an on-field celebration following Puerto Rico’s victory over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.
He was carried off the field by teammates and then left the field in a wheelchair.
“I hugged our coaches in the dugout. When we looked up, Edwin was on the floor,” Puerto Rico manager Yadier Molina told reporters afterwards. ‘I did not know. I didn’t know how to behave, I didn’t know how to – what to say.
‘I mean, I didn’t know. It took me by surprise.
It’s now up to the Mets to fill the void left by one of the game’s best closers.
“Of course, hard blow. No doubt about it,” Justin Verlander said of Diaz. “One of the best closers in baseball, if not the best. Losing that is not easy. But I don’t think any team — I can’t think of any team that’s gone through an entire season without a big hit.
“It is a difficult race to stay healthy. It’s just hard to have it this time of year. The optimism is so high and everyone is ready to go, when that happens it’s hard.