Edwin Díaz makes comeback after suspension due to difficult circumstances

This story is an excerpt from Anthony DiComo’s Mets Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to receive it regularly in your inbox.

Edwin Diaz will return from a tough suspension on Saturday, bringing the Mets closer back into their bullpen. That in itself is of course a big deal.

Perhaps more important is what Diaz’s return could mean for everyone. Over the past week and a half, the Mets have used what left-hander Jake Diekman described as a “revolving door” bullpen. With Diaz gone, the team has made eight reliever trades, moving pitchers like Ty Adcock, Danny Young and Matt Festa on and off the roster. Earlier this week, the team called up starting pitcher José Buttó to serve as a temporary reliever. Sources said the Mets have begun looking outside the organization for help, though no deals have been finalized.

“You just keep grinding it out,” Diekman, the losing pitcher, added Wednesday night. “We know [Díaz] will be back soon.”

If he does return, Diaz will provide respite. In addition to pushing every other reliever back into lower-leverage roles, the closer’s presence means the Mets no longer have to play one less man in their bullpen.

That has created some awkward situations for manager Carlos Mendoza, who has done things he normally wouldn’t do. On Monday, for example, Mendoza warmed up Reed Garrett twice before eventually, reluctantly, bringing him into a three-run game after Tyler Jay allowed a four-spot in extra innings. Two days later, Mendoza pushed rookie starter Christian Scott longer than he would have had the bullpen been at full strength. The ‘pen ultimately gave up a lead in that game anyway.

Overall, the Mets’ relievers have posted a 6.89 ERA and have been responsible for all four of New York’s losses in Díaz’s absence.

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

The Mets should get some additional help from the bullpen in the coming weeks, whether that comes in the form of trade acquisitions or rehabilitated players. Team officials have been keeping an eye on prospect Eric Orze, who spent the mid-90s at Triple-A Syracuse, as well as flamethrowers Shintaro Fujinami and Bryce Montes de Oca, who are each on rehab assignments. Those three could add ingredients the Mets have been missing as they shuttle the usual suspects back and forth between Syracuse.

As for Díaz, he’s been traveling with the team and taking a few live batting practice sessions to stay in shape. (The Mets even brought two High-A Brooklyn players to Washington, D.C., so Díaz had someone to pitch to.) But he hasn’t spoken publicly about Major League Baseball’s decision to suspend him, despite the Mets’ public relations officials initially setting a date for him to talk. As such, a lot of eyes will be on what Díaz has to say when he breaks his silence this weekend.

Many will focus on what he does when he steps back on the field. Without Díaz, the Mets are struggling. They need him in top form starting this weekend.

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