Edwin Diaz, who was ejected for the sticky stuff, will face an automatic 10-game suspension.

CHICAGO — New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz was ejected Sunday night in the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs after umpires checked his hands and gloves before throwing a pitch.

Crew chief Vic Carabazza confirmed Diaz’s ejection was the result of a sticky substance.

Carabazza said: “I touched his hand. He held his hand. The material is very sticky. Color changed. That was it. It is definitely rosin and not sweat. We’ve checked thousands of these. I know what that feeling is. It was very sticky.

The exhaust has an automatic 10-cam suspension for sticky materials. As a result of Diaz’s suspension, the Mets will play with 25 players instead of 26; They cannot be used interchangeably.

The Mets held on for a 5-2 win, but losing Diaz — who recently returned from the injured list with improved results — presents a significant challenge.

After missing all of 2023 due to knee surgery, Diaz experienced an up-and-down season in 2024, emblematic of the Mets’ asymmetry. Diaz was solid the first few weeks (0.93 ERA through April 28), but then struggled mightily — blowing four saves and allowing 11 runs in 10 appearances — which led to him temporarily losing the closer’s role. On May 29, the Mets placed Diaz on the injured list with a strained right shoulder. Diaz’s struggles and his injury coincided with a rough May for the Mets.

However, since his return on June 13, Diaz has resembled his old self. In his last three appearances, Diaz has pitched three scoreless innings, earning two saves. On his first day back from the injured list, his fastball hit 99 mph three times. Prior to that, his average velocity was down on both his fastball and slider. Diaz hit 100 mph for the first time this season in a June 14 game.

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Díaz will become the eighth MLB pitcher suspended for foreign substances since the new rules were instituted. On that list, two other Mets pitchers — Max Scherzer (now with the Texas Rangers) and reliever Drew Smith — were suspended last year.

“They thought it was too much,” Mendoza said. “Diaz kept saying it was rosin, sweat and dirt. And Vic thought he crossed the line there. Apparently the rules are the rules and they decided to kick him out.

Diaz said he used the same combination he always uses before pitching: rosin, sweat and a little dirt. Although television cameras showed some kind of residue on Diaz’s hand, he said his hand always looked like that when entering the game. He told the jurors how much he explained, but they argued it was too much. While he did not expect the outcome, Diaz said he understood their position.

“I was very surprised because I had no hand, no glove, no belt,” Diaz said. “They thought it was too sticky. I said, ‘Hey, you check my hand, smell my hand.’ But they kicked me out of the game.

After Diaz’s ejection, Mendoza inserted Smith into the game. Smith didn’t heat up in the bullpen because he wasn’t expected to be used until the outing. So Smith warmed up on the mound. After recording two outs and during his third at-bat against him, he motioned to meet catcher Francisco Alvarez on the mound. Mendoza stepped in from the dugout. Smith said he was fine, but Mendoza removed him after allowing a single to lefty Jake Diegman to end the inning.

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Smith, who has appeared in 6 of the last 10 days, said he was stiff and had trouble loosening up. He said he should have taken more time to warm up, but said the problem he was experiencing was “not a big one”. Like Diaz, Smith recently returned from the injured list on June 3.

Díaz’s immediate suspension comes at a bad time for the Mets (37-39), who are one game out of a wild-card spot after winning 13 of their last 17 games and a month before the trade deadline. The Mets are off on Monday and Thursday this week, but starting Friday, New York has 17 consecutive days of play.

The Mets are mulling the idea of ​​inserting another starter, perhaps as early as July, due to their schedule. Top pitching prospect Christian Scott will likely be recalled in that situation. However, with a short bullpen, the Mets’ pitching plans may not be as straightforward as they were before Diaz’s exit.

Without Diaz, the rest of the Mets’ bullpen includes long reliever Adrian Houser, Smith, Dickman, Danny Young, Deadniel Nunez, Adam Ottavino and Reed Garrett. On Saturday, the Mets lost Sean Reid-Foley (shoulder) to the injured list.

Diaz stabilizes Mets’ bullpen; They struggled during his struggles and absences last month. Without Diaz, the Mets will lean on a combination of Ottavino, Nunez and Garrett for more lucrative spots, along with another lefty, Diekman and Young. Ottavino has worked a lot of innings lately, but that’s more circumstantial than anything else, his struggles, rest and the rest of the bullpen’s availability (or lack thereof). The Mets said they “need to be creative.”

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“We’ve been through a lot this year,” Mendoza said. “We’ll find a way to get through it.”

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(Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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