Mets star closer dominates in his return to the mound

MLB: New York Mets-Workouts
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

After a trumpet-less 2023 for the Mets, it appears that the Flushing Faithfuls‘ favorite brass instrument will blare over the speakers in Citi Field once more.

On Monday evening, Edwin Díaz serenaded by trumpets and all returned to a big league rubber for the first time since tearing his patellar tendon while celebrating a win at the World Baseball Classic last March.

Mets’ Díaz dominates the Marlins

Díaz came firing out of the gates, reaching 97 MPH on his initial offering to Jesus Sanchez. After falling behind the Dominican slugger, Díaz worked his way back in the count before finishing him off with a dominating slider.

“It was crazy,” Díaz said. “I heard the people screaming and everything, and I was just trying to control my emotions in that moment because I knew I had to do my job. It’s a spring training game but I was treating it like a big-league game, controlling my emotion and my pitches, and everything went well.”

Avisail Garcia became Díaz’s next victim as it took the Puerto Rican native just four pitches to strike out the 2017 all-star before Jon Berti suffered the same fate.

All three of Díaz’s strikeouts came on sliders.

“Everything went really good,” Díaz said. “I threw a lot of lives and two backfield games, so I was making sure my pitches were the way I wanted them before I stepped on a big-league mound, so I knew it would be good, but three strikeouts in my first outing was amazing.” 

Díaz was coming off his best season as a New York Met in 2022 when the Puerto Rico native pitched to a 1.31 ERA and a 1.062 WHIP with 118 strikeouts and 32 saves. 

For his efforts, the 29-year-old made his second career all-star appearance, made the ALL-MLB First Team, placed in the top 16 in both MVP and CY Young voting, and won the Reliever of the Year award. Díaz parlayed that success into a five-year 102 million dollar contract, the largest contract in history for a reliever at the time.

Hopefully, tonight’s success is a glimpse into how Díaz will perform for the blue and orange this upcoming campaign.

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