‘Tremendous’ Edwin Diaz hopes to build Mets turnaround

Port ST. LUCIE – Not much from 2020 that the general population would like to repeat this year.

But the case of the Mets and Edwin Diaz.

Diaz returned to the Mets bullpen last season after a disastrous first campaign in Queens and believes he can use it as a springboard for this year’s season of 162 games – even though the Mets have officially He did not name them close to him.

“I think last season was really important to me,” Diaz said on Tuesday through an interpreter in Clover Park. “I had a tremendous season last year. I am not the one who makes the decision, but I know that in my preparation my mindset is to be close to this team. “

Manager Luis Rojas said on Tuesday that he wanted Diaz to retain flexibility as a substitute for the pitch in the seventh or eighth innings depending on matchups, but the right-hander may have the most chances to start the ninth inning. If Diaz can look more like his non-2019 self, though, it hardly matters what the Mets call him.

After posting a 5.59 ERA with seven blows in his first year as a Met, Diaz gave up one run in two of his first three games last season, following a trade with Robinson Cano from the Mariners. sport. He still made four saves in the season, but none came during the Mets’ playoff in September, when he made just one run in 11 ² / ings innings while scoring 20 runs.

Edwin Diaz at spring training.
Edwin Diaz at spring training.

Diaz’s walk was 2020 (from 3.4 to 4.9 per nine innings), but he stopped being run over by the long ball (2.3 to 0.7 home runs per nine innings).

“I think the biggest difference was the location of my pitches, which was able to command my fastball and my slider,” Diaz said, attributing his superior command to the minor mechanical turns he took after watching the video. .

The Mets showed interest in some of the top free-agent relievers on the market this offseason, but ended up adding Trevor May and Aaron Lupp, who have mostly been used as setup men. This would leave the bulk of the opportunities saved for Diaz, who believes he can maintain his 2020 performance – particularly the late movement on his pitches that made him more volatile.

“The stuff is tremendous, the electricity,” Rojas said. “He’s a guy we have full faith in and he needs to be one of those guys who pitch at the end of the game, if not the man who gets the most chance of pitching at the end of the game.”

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