Phillies News: Mets lose Edwin Díaz, Taijuan Walker impresses, and more

Edwin Díaz of the New York Mets
Edwin Díaz of the New York Mets / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies' rival Mets could be without Edwin Díaz in the 2023 season.

A nightmare scenario unfortunately came true for a Philadelphia Phillies division rival during World Baseball Classic action Wednesday evening in Miami, Florida.

Puerto Rico shockingly defeated a potent Dominican Republic team, 5-2, to advance to the next round of the late-winter tournament. New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor helped lead the way — going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Then came another Mets star Edwin Díaz in the ninth. The 28-year-old — who had just re-signed with the Mets to a five-year, $102 million contract
— entered the game with his iconic walk-on song and followed suit by striking out the side.

A memorable night for the baseball world quickly became one to forget, as Díaz suffered a right knee injury while celebrating Puerto Rico's win. Díaz could not put any weight on his right leg and was helped off the field. The closer is undergoing further testing, but it certainly does not look good.

For a National League East division that is expected to have at least three teams going neck-and-neck for bragging rights and a possible first-round bye in the postseason, seeing this injury is really unfortunate. Hopefully Díaz can return at some point this season.

Considering the Phillies have several injuries currently affecting the team, the thought of similarly losing one of Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto, Trea Turner, or another player because of the World Baseball Classic is just unthinkable. Fingers crossed that they remain healthy and help Team USA defend its World Baseball Classic title.

Taijuan Walker shows he is ready to be the Phillies' key No. 3 starting rotation arm

Another Phillies player currently participating in the World Baseball Classic — but not for Team USA — is right-hander Taijuan Walker.

A former New York Mets starting pitcher who signed a four-year, $72 million contract with the Phillies this offseason, Walker showed signs of dominance in a start for Mexico on Tuesday. Pitching in four innings against Great Britain, Walker struck out eight batters and allowed just one hit, one walk, and no runs en route to the eventual 2-1 win.

With Mexico defeating Canada — and Team USA defeating Columbia — on Wednesday, both teams have advanced to the quarterfinals. Perhaps Walker will face Schwarber, Realmuto, and Turner at some point in the next few days before all players return to the Phillies ahead of Opening Day on March 30.

Aaron Nola strikes out nearly half of his Yankees batters faced

Thursday marks exactly two weeks until the regular season opener. Where has the time gone?

The Phillies edged the New York Yankees, 9-8, on Wednesday, despite leading the game 7-0 at one point. Probable Opening Day starting pitcher Aaron Nola allowed a run on a pair of hits and walks spanning 3 2/3 innings. He struck out seven of his 15 batters faced:

Nola's 235 strikeouts last season ranked as the third-most in the National League. Nola seems poised to at least match (if not improve) that feat in the coming season.

At the plate, Brandon Marsh went 1-for-3 with a double, run scored, walk, and three RBI. Roster hopeful Josh Harrison was the only Phillie to log multiple hits, improving his spring batting average to .292.

Zack Wheeler is slotted behind Nola in the rotation and will start in Thursday's road exhibition contest against the Detroit Tigers. Wheeler is 0-1 with an alarming 14.21 ERA this spring, but hopefully that is just him testing a few things out while statistics currently do not matter.