Jul 10, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) high fives teammates after the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Mark Canha said it hit hard personally when he found out New York Mets teammate Edwin Díaz injured his knee at the World Baseball Classic. The outfielder said it took about 24 hours to grapple with the initial emotional shock before coming to terms with reality: After undergoing surgery to repair his right patellar tendon last Thursday, Díaz would need about eight months to recover. It means his 2023 season is likely lost.

The rest of the Mets can't think like that. They're still supposed to compete for the World Series.

So how do you keep someone in your thoughts but off your mind?

“We're human beings, so it hurts,” Canha told Bally Sports. "We feel for Edwin, and we feel for our team.”

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A human cost comes with an injury like the one to Díaz, who was celebrating Puerto Rico’s big win over the Dominican Republic until his world was turned upside down. Before even considering his status as one of MLB’s best closers and his importance to the Mets’ World Series title aspirations, Díaz is a person.

"A gut punch," right-hander Max Scherzer said. "It just stinks. And there's nothing you can do."

Another teammate, right-hander Carlos Carrasco, said he's still coming to terms with his friend being injured.

"It's hard, man," Carrasco said. "He's hurting. He's our closer. Just thinking about not having him for a long time. Losing a game, or something like that, you can wash it off. But with Edwin, it won't happen like that.

"He's a human being, and everyone is here to support him."

The franchise has a notorious relationship with injuries. The Mets seem unluckier and more star-crossed than other teams, true or not. So when Díaz and two other teammates got hurt within days of each other, a particularly dreadful tone overtook the club’s online discourse.

Doctors discovered that left-hander José Quintana had a lesion on his rib and would be out for about three months. Outfielder Brandon Nimmo is listed as week-to-week after he tripped while sliding and sprained his ankle and knee. At first, Nimmo's injury looked really bad, and manager Buck Showalter feared the worst — for a moment.

"It crossed your mind," Showalter said. "We're all human beings."

Díaz obviously has been away from Mets spring headquarters. Fans were reassured that he is doing well by his wife’s Instagram post, which acknowledged “all of your kind messages, good vibes and positive comments” and included a photo of Díaz smiling and flashing a peace sign in his hospital bed in Florida.


Edwin Diaz injury overshadows Puerto Rico's victory at World Baseball Classic

A return before the end of the 2023 season is unlikely because of the time needed for a full recovery. If Díaz were to come back this year, it would be around the time of the World Series.

"Yes, he has good spirits," Carrasco said. "I sent him a text (that said), ‘Hey, man, have faith. Never give up. We'll keep working hard.' Having faith in God is really a big part of this. I think that's what he needs to hear right now, not so much the bad things about getting hurt. He needs to hear something positive to keep his hope up, to move forward to the next day.

“It's not that easy, man, when you got an injury.”

Carrasco has been there — and much worse. In 2019, he battled chronic myeloid leukemia, which ended up costing him three months of the MLB season. A leukemia diagnosis is always going to be scary, but revolutionary drug treatments for CML — like the one that aided Carrasco — shorten the road back for patients and extend their lives.

Just as much as his own injury puts MLB games into perspective, Díaz has every reason to expect he'll be back on the field when the time is right. Scherzer agreed with Carrasco that Díaz’s Instagram update was sending an underlying message to teammates — Don't worry about me too much; it’s not the end of the world — and yet, Scherzer admitted it’s harder mentally to work through the absence of Díaz now because the Mets are still in spring training, where the results of the games really don't matter.

"We're trying to get our work in,” Scherzer said, “but you get a little bit more down about the situation because there's not a (meaningful) game to play the next day.”

Games that impact the National League East standings will come soon enough, with Opening Day looming next week. And like the other 29 MLB teams, the Mets will have to focus. It’s their job. And it's what Díaz would do for them if the situation were different.

"We know Edwin is in our corner,” Canha said. "He's one of those guys that you kind of know how he's going to respond to us — with overwhelming support and positivity. It's just kind of in his nature. He's a good man. He's our friend. It would be nice to have him around regardless of the injury.

“It's good for morale that he's in good spirits. Because if he's in good spirits, we're in good spirits, because that's our guy.”

The Mets have David Robertson to close along with other effective relief pitchers, even if they're not as revered as Díaz, who is among the two or three best relievers in baseball. They could also trade for help, something owner Steve Cohen likely would finance, even if it sends MLB’s highest payroll even higher.

No matter how, external solutions will present themselves. Internal ones too.

"We're a team, so one baseball player going down — although Edwin is a big piece, admittedly — doesn't end the season,” Canha said. "It's more about how the team responds.”

Individuals will answer in their own way, but collectively, the Mets are plodding their way along on the grief scale, possibly near a begrudged acceptance.

"Everybody needs time to breathe,” Carrasco said. "Everyone needs that moment. But it's also part of life and part of baseball.”

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