Edwin Diaz Diaz says he's open to moving out of closer role as struggles mount and confidence wanes

Sat, May 18, 2024
MLB News (AP)

Edwin Diaz Diaz says he's open to moving out of closer role as struggles mount and confidence wanes

MIAMI (AP) - Edwin Diaz is open to a change to help ignite the slumping New York Mets - even if that means losing his role as closer.

Amid a terrible start to the 2024 season in which he's blown two consecutive save chances and three of his last four, the star reliever with a $102 million contract said he would be willing to take a demotion if the team thinks that's best.

"I'm open to everything," Diaz said Saturday after squandering a four-run lead in the ninth inning against one of the league's worst hitting teams in the Miami Marlins.

Diaz has a 10.80 ERA over his last eight appearances after serving up four homers in 8 1/3 innings.

"I want to help my team to win," he said. "That's my main thing. If they want to talk to me about that and I feel good about it, I agree on it. I just want to win games in any position they put me."

The struggling Mets (20-25) led the Marlins 9-5 when Diaz entered in the ninth.

He allowed an RBI single by Jazz Chisholm Jr. that drove in Vidal Brujan, who led off with a double. Bryan De La Cruz reached on an infield single with one out, and Josh Bell hammered Diaz's first-pitch slider 428 feet to straightaway center field for a three-run shot that tied it.

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That was it for Diaz, who wasn't charged with a blown save because he came in with a four-run lead. But in his past three outings he's given up seven earned runs, seven hits, three walks and two homers over 2 1/3 innings.

New York lost 10-9 when Otto Lopez singled home the winning run off Jorge Lopez in the 10th.

Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said he's concerned about Diaz's confidence. The 30-year-old Diaz, a two-time All-Star, indicated his struggles this season are mostly mental.

"I won't lie, my confidence I feel is down right now," he said. "I'm making pitches. I'm throwing strikes. I'm trying to do my best to help the team to win. Right now I'm not in that capacity.

"Physically, I feel 100 percent right now. My body is not an issue. I think right now I've got to think about what I'm doing, trust myself a little bit more when I'm on the mound. I think I'm thinking too much."

Mendoza indicated the team would consider moving Diaz out of the closer role to help him rebuild his confidence.

"It's one of those things I have to talk to the coaching staff and to Edwin," Mendoza said, "whether we want to find him some softer spots to get him going. He's still our closer and he will get through it."

Saturday was Diaz's first outing at Miami's home ballpark since he tore the patellar tendon in his right knee while celebrating a win for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic there in March 2023.

The injury required surgery and cost him the entire 2023 season. He was baseball's most dominant closer in 2022, striking out 118 batters in 62 innings while saving 32 games and compiling a 1.31 ERA.

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

ALANIS THAMES Thames is an Associated Press sports writer based in Miami. She previously covered sports for the New York Times. "
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