Astros World Series MVP Jeremy Peña dismisses WBC criticism after Edwin Diaz injury


Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Peña is the latest MLB star to defend the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in the wake of the devastating injury to New York Mets stud closer Edwin Diaz.

The Mets stopper suffered a likely season-ending right patellar tendon tear immediately following Puerto Rico’s 5-2 win over the Dominican Republic Wednesday night. He went down with the freak injury after closing out the victory and briefly celebrating with teammates, before falling to the ground.
Diaz underwent successful surgery on Thursday.

Peña’s words are notable because he not only was in the ballpark (or making his way to the clubhouse) as a member of the Dominican team at the time of Diaz’s injury, but because he plays for the perennial World Series-contending Astros. Peña had a big regular season in his 2022 rookie debut, recording 22 home runs, 63 RBI, 11 stolen bases and a .253/.289/.426 slash line, while winning a Gold Glove and finishing fifth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.

The 25-year-old saved his best performance for October (and November) baseball however, winning both the ALCS and World Series MVP awards. If there’s anyone who knows just how exhilarating a World Series title can be — and how important it is to be healthy for the long run — it’s the fresh-faced Peña.

Among the biggest critics of the WBC in the aftermath of Diaz’s injury was sports and political commentator Keith Olbermann (a Mets fan), who tweeted a controversial, and since heavily criticized take on the subject on Thursday.

Peña joins a host of other MLB stars to recently come out in support of the international showcase, including USA’s Mookie Betts and Mike Trout and Diaz’s Mets and Puerto Rican teammate Francisco Lindor.

Puerto Rico will play Mexico in the WBC quarterfinals on Friday, while the Mets will open up their 2023 regular season on March 30.

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