Edwin’s return would be a great relief for the Mets’ bullpen

Edwin’s return would be a great relief for the Mets’ bullpen
Edwin’s return would be a great relief for the Mets’ bullpen

Puerto Rican Edwin Diaz returns from his suspension for using sticky substances on Saturday, giving the Mets their closer back. That alone is vital for a team like New York.

But even more crucial is what Diaz’s return could mean for the rest of the club. Over the past week and a half, the Mets have utilized what lefty Jake Diekman has called a “revolving door” in the bullpen. In the absence of the Naguabo native, the team has made an astonishing eight transactions among its relief pitchers, with pitchers such as Ty Adcock, Danny Young and Matt Festa coming in and out of the roster. Earlier this week, Venezuelan Jose Butto served as a temporary reliever. Sources say the Mets have even begun exploring options outside the organization.

“You have to keep fighting,” Diekman added. “We know that [Díaz] will be back soon.”

When he returns, Diaz will give the bullpen a breather. In addition to moving all the relievers back to their original spots, the closer’s presence means the Mets will no longer be short-handed.

That has created awkward situations for manager Carlos Mendoza, who has been forced to make moves he doesn’t usually make. For example, Mendoza warmed up Reed Garrett on two separate occasions on Monday before finally calling him into the game with a three-run lead after Tyler Jay allowed four runs in extra innings. Two days later, Mendoza left starter Christian Scott out for longer than usual. The bullpen ended up blowing the lead in that game.

Overall, relievers have been responsible for four of New York’s losses during Diaz’s absence.

“It’s part of where we are right now,” Mendoza said.

The Mets could get more bullpen help in the coming weeks, either from injured players or trades. The Mets’ call-up on Saturday is Eric Orze, who has been logging fastballs in the mid-90s at Triple-A Syracuse. The club’s management has also been keeping a close eye on flamethrowers Shintaro Fujinami and Bryce Montes de Oca, who are both on rehab assignments. Those three names could provide the depth the Mets’ bullpen has been lacking.

As for Diaz, he’s been traveling with the club, throwing in some live workouts to stay sharp. The Mets even brought two of their Class-A Brooklyn players to Washington, D.C. to face Diaz.

The Puerto Rican has not broken his silence on the Major League Baseball policies that led to his suspension, even though Mets public relations officials had set a date for him to offer a statement. Many eyes will be following the Puerto Rican when he finally decides to speak this weekend.

Many others will be focused on what he does when he steps on the mound. Without Diaz, the Mets have suffered. They need the Puerto Rican to be in top form starting this weekend.

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