Mets closer Edwin Diaz given 10-game suspension, can appeal

Watch as New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz sees a speedy end to his night against the Chicago Cubs, as he is ejected by umpires following a sticky substance check upon entering the game in the ninth inning.

Edwin Diaz’s roller coaster 2024 season continued Sunday night when he was ejected for having an illegal foreign substance on him as he entered in a save opportunity against the Chicago Cubs.

The New York Mets closer came into the game with a 5-2 lead and was checked by the umpire crew, including crew chief Vic Carapazza, who ejected Diaz for what appeared to be a sticky substance on his pitching hand and glove.

MLB announced Monday that Diaz has officially been handed the automatic 10-game suspension as result of the ejection. He has the option to appeal.

If he chooses not to appeal, the suspension will become effective on Tuesday and run until July 6.

“I just said ‘I use the same thing, always,'” Diaz told reporters post-game of what he said to umpires on the field. “I rub rosin, sweat and I put my hand in the dirt a little bit because I need some grip on the ball. So that’s what I was explaining to them, but they said it was more (sticky).

“I understood, but at the end of the day, I was using rosin, sweat and put my hand in the dirt.”

Despite Diaz’s claims, Carapazza had different thoughts after the game.

“It definitely wasn’t rosin and sweat,” he told a pool reporter. “We’ve checked thousands of these. I know what that feeling is. This was very sticky.”

Diaz owns a 4.70 ERA and seven saves this season over 23.0 innings. The Puerto Rico native was one of the most dominant relievers in baseball in 2022 but missed all of 2023 after tearing the patellar tendon in his right knee during the World Baseball Classic.

The 30-year-old lost the closer job in New York earlier this year as he struggled to finish games. Diaz has four blown saves in 11 opportunities for the Mets.

“The rules are the rules and they made the decision to throw him out,” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said after the game.

Houston Astros starter Ronel Blanco was the last pitcher to be ejected for having a foreign substance on his glove. He was suspended for the 10 games and fined an undisclosed amount after choosing not to appeal the decision.

When a player is suspended for use of a foreign substance, their team is not allowed to replace them on the 26-man roster while they serve their suspension.

MLB started cracking down on the use of “sticky stuff” in 2021, ramping up its enforcement of the rules preventing pitchers from using it.

Since then, pitchers such as Blanco, Max Scherzer, Robert Suarez, Domingo German and others have been ejected in-game after routine checks by umpires.

New York has won 10 of 13 and is 13-6 in June and might need to find a temporary closer for the next two weeks. The Mets begin a two-game series against the visiting Yankees on Tuesday before hosting Houston for three games.

“Look, we’ve been through a lot this year,” Mendoza said. “We’ll find a way to get through it, you know? We’ll continue to piece it together and, yeah, guys are going to have to step up. And I’m pretty confident that we’ll get guys here that are going to be able to get us to the finish line when he’s out.”

— With files from the Associated Press

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