Edwin Diaz returns from a 10-game suspension by MLB by closing out Mets’ 5-2 victory over Pirates

PITTSBURGH (AP) — All-Star closer Edwin Diaz returned to the New York Mets on Saturday and got the save after completing his 10-game suspension from Major League Baseball for having a foreign substance on his pitching hand.

Diaz pitched a scoreless ninth inning to close out the 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was his eighth save in 12 opportunities this season.

The inning started with Diaz hitting Oneil Cruz with a pitch. However, Diaz settled down and retired the next two batters, including Andrew McCutchen, who grounded into a game-ending double play.

“I was a little anxious at first,” Diaz said. “I just started throwing strikes and quit trying to be perfect. Once I had the hit by pitch, I just started trying to make my pitches.”

Diaz could work out with the team before games during his suspension but could not be in the clubhouse, dugout or bullpen once the games began.

Diaz was ejected on June 24 from the Mets’ 5-2 win at the Chicago Cubs. The right-hander came on in the ninth to try to seal the victory for the Mets, but was tossed by third-base umpire Vic Carapazza before throwing a pitch after an inspection of his glove and throwing hand.

“I left this behind that day,” Diaz said of his suspension. “I apologized to my teammates after the game. I came back today and did my job and I want to keep doing my job.”

Diaz initially thought about appealing the suspension but decided against it.

“We just didn’t think it worth getting in a battle with MLB about it,” Diaz said. “I talked to the front office and the coaches, and we just wanted to kind of move forward. It was tough sitting out because I kept thinking that I should be there, I should be there.”

While Diaz accepted the suspension, he still insists he did nothing wrong. He said he used the same mix of rosin, sweat and dirt on that night in Chicago that he does in any other game.

“I don’t feel guilty because I was using the same stuff I always use,” Diaz said. “They say I was doing something different, but I wasn’t.”

Diaz is 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 24 games this season.

Diaz was an All-Star in 2021 when he had a 1.31 ERA and 32 saves in 61 games. However, he missed last season after sustaining a knee injury in the World Baseball Classic while celebrating a win by Puerto Rico over the Dominican Republic.

The Mets went 5-5 during Diaz’s suspension but the bullpen struggled. New York had won 10 of 12 games before the ban.

“Getting him back is huge for us,” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said. “Now some of the guys can slide back to other roles where they are pitching the sixth, seventh and eighth.”

The Mets also selected the contract of right-hander Greg Orze from the Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday and optioned righty Ty Adcock to the same club.

This marks Orze’s first time in the major leagues. After overcoming skin and testicular cancer while playing at the University of New Orleans, Orze was the Mets’ fifth-round draft pick in 2020.

Orze, 26, pitched in 26 games for Syracuse and had a 3.76 ERA and two saves.

“He’s been through a lot in his life and now he’s a big leaguer,” Mendoza said. “That’s pretty special.”

Adcock was tagged for six runs and three home runs in 1 1/3 innings on Friday night in the Mets’ 14-2 loss to the Pirates.


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB

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