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Mets put Díaz on IL with shoulder impingement, Alonso exits after HBP

Edwin Diaz New York Mets Edwin Diaz - The Canadian Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Struggling closer Edwin Díaz was placed on the 15-day injured list Wednesday by the New York Mets with a right shoulder impingement.

The team made the announcement about 15 minutes before its series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In another discouraging development moments later, slugger Pete Alonso exited in the first inning after getting hit on the right hand by a 93 mph fastball from James Paxton. Following his team's 10-3 loss, Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said X-rays were normal and the club expected to receive results of a CT scan Thursday.

Brett Baty ran for Alonso and remained in the game at third base. Mark Vientos moved from third base to Alonso’s position at first.

Díaz felt a little tightness in his shoulder Sunday after pitching Friday and Saturday. He thought it would go away, but when he woke up Wednesday still feeling it he reported the issue to New York's athletic training staff.

“We don’t think it’s anything serious here, but we’ll see," Mendoza said.

Díaz said “everything looked great” on an ultrasound and he will simply rest for a few days before playing catch again. He said he expects to return as soon as he's eligible to come off the IL.

“My first time feeling something in my shoulder,” he said.

After missing last season because of a knee injury, Díaz is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA and five saves in 20 appearances. He has blown three straight save chances and four of his past five. And that doesn't include a meltdown in Miami on May 18, when the right-hander squandered a four-run lead in the ninth inning but wasn't charged with a blown save.

Despite all his trouble this month, Díaz said on May 18 that he felt 100% physically and his body was “not an issue.” He acknowledged his failures affected his confidence and said he believed he was thinking too much on the mound and needed to trust himself a little more.

New York went four games without using Díaz before he was summoned in the seventh inning last Friday against San Francisco. He struck out two in a scoreless inning, then blew a save chance the following day when he squandered a one-run lead in the ninth inning of a loss to the Giants.

The 30-year-old didn't pitch Tuesday when the Mets were swept by the Dodgers in a doubleheader. New York took a one-run lead into the ninth inning of the opener, but Mendoza brought in Adam Ottavino instead of Díaz. Ottavino blew the lead, and New York lost 5-2 in 10 innings.

New York has blown 10 of 22 save opportunities this season and lost five games this month after taking a lead into the ninth inning. After dropping 10 of 12 and 15 of 19, the fourth-place Mets are a season-low 11 games under .500 at 22-33. The team's ERA in May is 4.84, worst in the majors, and they held a players-only meeting in the clubhouse following the latest defeat.

“I think as a team, we are trying to do too much,” Díaz said.

Díaz, a two-time All-Star, was baseball’s most dominant closer in 2022, striking out 118 batters in 62 innings while saving 32 games for New York and compiling a 1.31 ERA.

He re-signed with the Mets on a $102 million, five-year contract but tore the patellar tendon in his right knee while celebrating a win for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic in March 2023. The injury required surgery and cost him the entire 2023 season.

Left-handed reliever Josh Walker was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse to take Díaz’s roster spot. Earlier in the day, the Mets said Walker had been optioned to Syracuse following Tuesday’s doubleheader to make room for lefty David Peterson, who came off the 60-day IL to start Wednesday’s game.