Home News Mets Notebook: Edwin Diaz finding his rhythm after returning from injury

Mets Notebook: Edwin Diaz finding his rhythm after returning from injury


CHICAGO — There are many reasons why Edwin Diaz struggled over the first two months of play this season, most of which can be attributed to the fact that he missed all of the 2023 season with a knee injury. There are certain elements of the game that catch up after being sidelined, even for the most well-conditioned players.

For Diaz, adjusting to the pitch clock was an unexpected challenge. Other than a few minor league rehab assignments, Diaz had never worked with the pitch clock. With last season being with any sort of timer in the Major Leagues, Diaz was starting from the beginning in spring training this season.

Recently, Diaz went to pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, seeking data from his 2022 season. He wanted to know how long it was typically taking him between pitches and at what point he was starting his delivery.

“Before, I was accelerating my game,” Diaz told the Daily News on Sunday at Wrigley Field. “So I went to the pitching coach, I asked him about my times in 2022. He told me 5-7 seconds. Now, when the clock is close to 5-7 seconds, I try to keep pitching in that rhythm.”

Diaz says he’s at his best when he’s in a rhythm. He found it tough to get into one early in the season, rushing through his outings and letting the game speed up on him. This compounded mistakes and at times, left him rattled on the mound. While won’t make a single excuse for the 5.12 ERA he posted over his 19 appearances this season (19 innings pitched), he knew it was something he needed to figure out.

Finally, he found a rhythm after returning from the injured list May 24. It shows in his numbers: Diaz has only allowed one earned run in five innings since his return, holding a lead once and converting two saves.

“I feel like I’ve got more time to throw the ball,” Diaz said. “Before, I was thinking, ‘Oh my, time is running low.’ Now, I know that I have 15 seconds, or 18 seconds with men on base, so I’ve got a lot of time to think about and visualize the pitch I want to throw, and go from there.”

Of course, it wasn’t just the pitch clock that led to a tough stretch for Diaz this season. His fastball velocity was down, his arm got fatigued and he wasn’t getting the same run on his pitches, especially to the glove side.

All of that has improved and Diaz is looking more like his old self.

“I feel better — my arm and my body,” he said. “I’ve been able to command my glove side and I wasn’t doing that before and I’m much sharper. So I’m mixing both pitches and the way I’m throwing the ball right now, it’s way better.”

METS MULLING EXTRA STARTER

The Mets are committing to sticking with struggling right-hander Tylor Megill in the rotation, despite the fact that the club has two deserving starters in Triple-A, right-handers Christian Scott and Jose Butto. However, Scott could be back in the big leagues as soon as next weekend with the Mets considering the idea of going to a six-man rotation after an off-day Thursday.

“Day-to-day, a lot can happen between now and whenever we have to make that decision, but he’s in play,” manager Carlos Mendoza said. “We’ll start having these conversations once we get through the off days here.”

Scott went 0-2 with a 3.90 ERA in five big league starts in May. He took some tough-luck losses when the lineup failed to give him run support, but he looked like he belonged in the Majors right away.

The Mets sent him back to Triple-A Syracuse on May 30 to manage his innings. Since then, he’s posted a 2.69 ERA in three starts, albeit three abbreviated ones. He’s pitched only 10 innings over those three starts, with the Mets being careful of his usage.

Butto has also excelled this season, going 4-2 with a 3.38 ERA in seven Triple-A starts and 1-3 with a 3.08 ERA in seven big league starts.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Outfielder Starling Marte sat for Sunday’s series finale against the Chicago Cubs after being removed from Saturday’s game with a sore right knee. The Mets are still planning on having imaging done Monday and are hoping to avoid placing him on the injured list.

Kodai Senga threw 22 pitches to minor league hitters in Port St. Lucie, using all of his pitches and reporting no pain in his shoulder or arm. He’ll fly back to New York to meet the team this week and determine the next step in his rehab, which Mendoza said will likely be another live batting practice session.

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