Mets star closer Edwin Diaz says he hopes to return this season

New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz has not ruled out returning before the end of the campaign, saying his injured knee is progressing well.

Diaz, speaking to the media for the first time since tearing his right patellar tendon while celebrating at the World Baseball Classic, said Wednesday that his knee “is doing right” and that his recovery is going “in a good direction.”

While the typical recovery timeline for his injury is around eight months, Diaz offered a more optimistic prognosis.

“I might throw this season,” he said. “As of right now, my knee is doing right. [The doctors] are really happy, so we are in a good direction for that.”

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Diaz also did not want to get too far ahead of himself.

There are several tests he will need to pass before he’s cleared to pitch again, including running on the field, getting on the mound and throwing.

“But if everything goes well,” he said, “I think I can be back sooner than eight months.”

While Diaz’s injury in the WBC reignited the controversy over whether star players should risk injury by participating in the event, the Puerto Rico native expressed no regret over the decision to represent his country.

“People can get hurt at home, at any place,” he said. “It happened to me in the WBC. I wasn’t pitching, I was celebrating with my teammates. If I had a chance to play again for my country, I would do it again.”

Diaz signed a five-year, $102 million deal this past offseason, the most valuable contract ever signed by a relief pitcher after posting the best season of his career with a 1.31 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 32 saves in 25 opportunities.

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