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Injured Mets closer Edwin Díaz hopes to return this season

World Baseball Classic Pool D: Puerto Rico v Dominican Republic

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 15: Edwin Diaz #39 of Puerto Rico is helped off the field after being injured during the on-field celebration after defeating the Dominican Republic during the World Baseball Classic Pool D at loanDepot park on March 15, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK -- Mets closer Edwin Díaz hopes to return this season from a torn right patella tendon.

“I’m feeling great,” Díaz said in his first comments since he was hurt March 15 while celebrating Puerto Rico’s 5-2 victory over the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. “We are working hard to see if I can come back as soon as possible. But everything’s going in the right direction. The doctors say I’m doing great.”

The usual timeline for a return from a torn patella tendon is eight months, though Mets general manager Billy Eppler said some players have returned in six.

The regular season is scheduled to end Oct. 1. Last season, the World Series ended on Nov. 5.

“The trainers and I are working hard,” Díaz said. “If the knee is responding to the testing, then I have to start running, I have to get on the mound, I have to start throwing. If everything goes well, I think I can be back sooner than eight months.”

Díaz, standing on crutches outside the Mets clubhouse, said he is doing a lot of arm exercises and trying to maintain his usual level of conditioning.

“This is a good time to get all of my body stronger,” Díaz said.

Díaz said he didn’t have second thoughts about participating in the WBC.

“I think people can get hurt in their home (or) any place,” Díaz said. “Happened to me at the WBC and that’s part of the game. I wasn’t pitching, I was celebrating with my team. If I have the chance to play again for my country, yeah, I would do it.”

Díaz spoke five days after he received the loudest ovation during introductions prior to the home opener. With his entrance song “Narco” blasting form the Citi Field loudspeakers, Diaz hopped up the dugout steps and waved to the sellout crowd.

“I didn’t know I was coming until the day before,” Díaz said with a grin. “I was really happy to come and show the fans I’m doing good.”