According to manager Buck Showalter, Díaz threw off the mound Wednesday morning at Citi Field and didn’t have any problems with his knee. But the skipper wouldn’t say if Díaz would pitch for New York this season.
“[The session] was good. It’s part of his progression, ” Showalter said. “I haven’t got into the decision-making about what everybody is asking. They want to know the end game and when [he is pitching in a game]. I feel confident that it’s when, not if. So that hasn’t been solidified yet.
“We are taking in information -- feedback and what the testing shows, where the strength is. [The team has] to really like what’s been going on so far.”
Considering the severity of the injury, most baseball experts thought Díaz would be out for the season. It's a credit to his work ethic that he was able to get back on the mound by August, Showalter said.
“[Díaz] uses his time wisely,” Showalter said. “He has worked on other things. … He has done his part. He has been a guy who has showed up for everything we’ve asked of him and then some. The only thing we had to do was slow him down some. … He is going to give himself every chance to be as good. Who knows? I don’t know how you can be any better than he was last year. But he is chasing it.”
Last year, Díaz had a season to remember, saving 32 games with a 1.31 ERA and winning the Trevor Hoffman Award as the best reliever in the National League. Showalter has always declined to use Díaz’s absence this season as an excuse for the team’s struggles in the bullpen. Entering Wednesday’s action against the Pirates, New York’s relievers were 18-25 with a 4.57 ERA, and their 27 saves were tied for 23rd in the Majors.