Puerto Rico’s celebrations following its 2023 World Baseball Classic win over the Dominican Republic were short-lived.
New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz suffered an apparent knee injury following Puerto Rico’s 5-2 victory on Wednesday. Diaz, who had just struck out Teoscar Hernandez to send Puerto Rico to the World Baseball Classic quarterfinal round, joined a few teammates on the field to celebrate the thrilling win. It was just moments later that the two-time All-Star sat on the ground with his right leg extended. He was subsequently taken off the field in a wheelchair.
The Mets announced on Thursday that Diaz has a “full-thickness” tear of the patellar tendon in his right knee. The veteran closer will undergo surgery on Thursday afternoon, and at the moment, it is up in the air as to when he will receive the green light to return to action.
There have since been some outside calls for MLB teams to not release their players for the World Baseball Classic anymore. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts, who has featured for Team USA in this edition of the World Baseball Classic, responded to such criticism on Wednesday, noting that Diaz’s injury “can happen to anybody.”
“I mean, those things, they can happen to anybody at any given time,” Betts said following Team USA’s win over Colombia on Wednesday. “And you can always try and place blame on the WBC, but that’s just a freak accident that could happen to anyone at any given time.”
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, who captains Team USA, also came to the defense of the World Baseball Classic.
“Obviously there’s risk involved,” Trout said. “You’re still playing baseball, and it’s spring training. For me, being part of this atmosphere, it’s special. It means a lot to me. And I knew going in it was going to be a fun time. But I never knew it was going to be this fun.
“We’ve got a pretty good team in there, and it’s fun to come to the ballpark every day.”
Puerto Rico will now look ahead to a meeting with Mexico in the World Baseball Classic quarterfinals on Friday.