Puerto Rico's elimination win over the Dominican Republic came with emotional whiplash immediately after the game Wednesday.
New York Mets closer Edwin Díaz, who closed out the game to send Puerto Rico to the quarterfinals of the WBC, had to be taken off the field in a wheelchair after he reportedly tore his patellar tendon while celebrating the victory with his teammates, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.
Some of the Puerto Rican players, jubilant a moment prior, were openly crying as Díaz sat on the mound with his head in his hands. The group included his brother, Cincinnati Reds reliever Alexis Díaz.
Edwin Diaz appears to have suffered an injury during Puerto Rico's celebration pic.twitter.com/G9Md6SBrEj
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 16, 2023
An hour later, the Mets announced that Díaz had injured his right knee and would undergo imaging Thursday.
Edwin Díaz injured his right knee after tonight’s WBC game. He will undergo imaging tomorrow and we will update when appropriate.
— New York Mets (@Mets) March 16, 2023
Both the Mets and Puerto Rico will now prepare for life without Díaz in 2023. Díaz was a massively important figure for both teams after a career MLB season in 2022, in which he posted a 1.31 ERA with 32 saves, a 0.839 WHIP and 118 strikeouts in 62.0 innings.
That effort earned Díaz a second career All-Star nod and the Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year Award. He also reached mainstream fame with his entrance ritual featuring the song "Narco" by Blasterjaxx and Timmy Trumpet.
After the season, Díaz signed a five-year, $102 million contract to stay with the Mets, who are once again expected to contend in the National League. The contract is the biggest in MLB history for a reliever.
Díaz looked the part for Puerto Rico before his injury Wednesday, striking out all three Dominican batters in the ninth to close out a 5-2 win in the de facto elimination game and send Puerto Rico to the quarterfinals. Now his status could cast a pall over the entire World Baseball Classic.