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Mets' Diaz begins serving 10-game suspension

Edwin Diaz New York Mets Edwin Diaz - The Canadian Press

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Mets closer Edwin Díaz began serving his 10-game suspension Tuesday, just two days after his ejection from a win over the Chicago Cubs for having a foreign substance on his hand.

The 30-year-old Díaz came on in the ninth inning to try to seal a 5-2 victory for the Mets, but was tossed by third-base umpire Vic Carapazza before throwing a pitch after an inspection of his glove and throwing hand.

Both Díaz and manager Carlos Mendoza said the umpire said he thought the pitcher had too much of a combination of rosin, sweat and dirt on his throwing hand.

But Carapazza, the crew chief, said in a pool report after the game it “definitely wasn’t rosin and sweat” on Díaz’s hand.

“We’ve checked thousands of these,” Carapazza said. “I know what that feeling is. This was very sticky.”

MLB issued the suspension to Diaz on Monday. The 10-game suspension is automatic for any player ejected for using a foreign substance. Players are allowed to appeal, though none of the eight pitchers ejected since 2001 — when MLB began cracking down on the use of sticky stuff — have done so.

The Mets cannot replace Díaz on the active roster and will play a man short during the suspension, which is slated to run through July 5 and the opener of a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said he believed Díaz’s explanation but, that the team decided it was best if he immediately served the suspension.

“We want to move on from it — we don’t want this cloud to be hanging over the team for too long,” Mendoza said Tuesday before the opener of the Subway Series against the Yankees.

Mendoza said he would employ a closer by committee in Díaz’s absence. Díaz briefly lost his closer’s job while going 1-1 with a 9.58 ERA and four blown saves in 10 games from April 29 through May 25. He spent 15 days on the injured list with a right shoulder impingement and tossed three scoreless innings in his first three appearances before Sunday.

“It’s frustrating, but I think for us, we’re willing to meet the challenge head on and play the best we can,” Mets first baseman Pete Alonso said Tuesday afternoon.

Díaz is the third Mets pitcher suspended for using a foreign substance in the last 14 months. Max Scherzer was ejected from a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 19, 2023, while Drew Smith was ejected prior to pitching against the Yankees on June 13, 2023. Smith was the first pitcher to relieve Díaz on Sunday.