New York Mets star closer Edwin Díaz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee celebrating Puerto Rico’s win over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday night.
Díaz, 28, underwent a successful repair Thursday and is expected to begin a rehab program in about a week, the Mets tweeted.
Díaz injured himself as team members jumped up and down and hugged one another after their 5-2 victory at loanDepot Park in Miami.
He limped toward the dugout, struggling to put weight on his right leg. He eventually used his left leg to hop over to a wheelchair.
Díaz’s brother and Puerto Rico teammate, Alexis, cried as Edwin was taken off the field.
In a tweet Thursday night, Díaz said that he was grateful for the messages of support and that he is “doing well and healing.”
The patellar tendon attaches the bottom of the kneecap to the top of the shinbone. It “takes a very strong force” to tear it, but a person can injure it by jumping or falling,” according to OrthoInfo.
Edwin Díaz pitched a perfect ninth inning to help Puerto Rico advance to the World Baseball Classic quarterfinals. It will face Mexico on Friday in Miami.
Díaz dominated the 2022 season with 32 saves and a career-best 1.31 ERA. He signed a five-year, $102 million deal with the Mets.
It is the first World Baseball Classic since 2017, a quadrennial tournament that isn’t universally embraced in the U.S.
Díaz’s injury immediately fueled critics of the competition, who believe the world’s top baseball players should be focusing only on their coming domestic seasons each March.
Mets radio play-by-play announcer Howie Rose tweeted, “Thank you, WBC,” shortly after Díaz’s injury.
Radio personality and former major-league journeyman Kevin Frandsen defended the WBC and responded to Rose, saying injuries happen all the time: “When I blew out my Achilles in 2008 should it have been thank you, Spring Training?”
By Thursday, Rose had walked back his harsh criticism and suggested the tournament should be played after the domestic season.
Star Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman hurt his hamstring playing in the tournament for Canada, prompting former MSNBC host and noted baseball fan Keith Olbermann to demand the WBC be eliminated.
He called it a “meaningless exhibition” made to sell merchandise.