The start of the season can’t come soon enough for teams looking to keep their pitching staffs as healthy as possible.

A tough spring for pitchers continued Thursday with the announcements that New York Mets star closer Edwin Díaz and Washington Nationals prospect Cade Cavalli were expected to miss the entire season.

Díaz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee while celebrating with his Puerto Rico teammates on the field after a World Baseball Classic victory over the Dominican Republic. Cavalli is undergoing Tommy John surgery.

“Edwin Díaz is a great human being and a fierce competitor,” Mets owner Steve Cohen tweeted. “All of us at the Mets are shaken but determined to sustain our quest for a great season. We wish Edwin a speedy recovery.”

Mets general manager Billy Eppler said the recovery timetable for a patellar tendon generally is around eight months.

“There are instances where athletes have come back earlier, more around the six-month mark,” Eppler told reporters. “But those are a little bit more of the exception than the rule.”

Díaz signed a five-year, $102 million contract – the largest ever for a closer – after going 3-1 with a 1.31 ERA and 32 saves in 35 opportunities while striking out 118 batters in 62 innings last season.

While Díaz is a two-time All-Star, Cavalli is just beginning his major league career as one of the Nationals’ brightest prospects.

Now he’s hit a roadblock that will delay his progress.

Cavalli exited a spring training start against the Mets after 2 2/3 innings on Tuesday.

“While Cade will not pitch in 2023, he continues to be a very important part of our franchise’s future and we look forward to having him back on the mound,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. “We will provide an update on his surgery when it is available.”

These injuries represented two of the latest and most serious setbacks involving pitchers in a spring that’s been full of them.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are expecting Mark Melancon and Corbin Martin to open the season on the injured list. The Mets announced earlier this week that José Quintana will be out until at least July with a stress fracture in his rib. Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said this week that Jake Odorizzi won’t be ready for the season opener due to arm fatigue. —

AP MLB: and