PORT ST. LUCIE – The crisis of confidence was a major reason for Edwin Diaz's tighter problems last season, his first at the Mets.
New York turned out to be a very different world from Seattle, and it was about Diaz, but this problem was in the past, the hard-fought right-hander vowed on Wednesday.
"My head is good," Diaz told The Post about the challenge of pitching in New York. "It will be different this year. It will be much better. I love New York. It is the Big Apple and this year I am ready. I am so excited for the season."
To get ready, Diaz, who will turn 26 next month, has returned to his 2017 training routine in Puerto Rico.
"I'm much stronger than last year," he said. "I worked a lot on the beach. I have a great coach and I am in a much better shape. "
Diaz's litter partner on Tuesday was Jeurys Familia, who lost £ 30. Both men looked much stronger than last spring training.
"I started throwing again early this year, like 2017," said Diaz. "I have returned to this formula. I feel 100 percent ready for the season. "
There is another reason for Diaz's newfound determination.
His off-season talks with Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez put him in the right mood. Diaz will attack. Hitters felt far too comfortable against Diaz last season and raided his fastball.
"Pedro told me to go in more," said Diaz. “He told me to fight with everyone. "Don't be afraid of anyone. You have great things and go for people." Every time he spoke to me, I paid attention to everything he said because he knows so much about pitching. The things he does told me I started working in my litter lessons and I started getting better every time. Pedro really focused on my mechanics. "
Diaz, 2-7 with 5.59 ERA, made seven saves last season, most of which he has ever blown in his career. Amazingly, he gave up 15 home runs in the ninth inning league.
Nevertheless, Diaz fought several fights in 32 of his 66 appearances. His 99 Ks put him in seventh place in the Mets reliefs all season. With these 99 breakthroughs, he finished fifth in the reliefs in the NL, and with 15.36 breakthroughs per nine innings, he finished third in the majors and second in the NL.
Sure, the stuff was there, but the mistakes were huge.
Diaz could not free himself from his fear and his self-confidence experienced a blow. The change in training out of season, the fine-tuning of the mechanics and the more aggressive approach should pay off.
"Edwin feels good about how his body feels and how he gets into the year," said teammate Brandon Nimmo. “Talking to Pedro helps. It takes a lot of time to look at yourself and say, "Hey, I need someone else's help." I want suggestions from someone who has been successful. "You have to be a sponge around these guys."
Diaz takes up the challenge of pitching in New York, and even on that warm February day on a backfield in the Mets Minor League complex, he sounded much safer than last season when the Mets went through Dave Eiland and two Phil Regan trying to fix Diaz. This job will be owned by Jeremy Hefner and Ricky Bones this year, and both were there on Wednesday to complete the first training sessions. The fact that Diaz is here early is further proof of his commitment this season.
You can only get to know New York once you have lived in New York.
Diaz was aware that he had to be better prepared for bad luck, mentally and physically. He finished last season with 26 saves and, according to Elias Sports Bureau, is the only pitcher in Major League history to start his career with four seasons with at least 50 innings and a K / 9 ratio of 12.0 or better.
Diaz is just too good to be as bad as last season. Accepting the Big Apple challenge directly is the first step to success.