ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Texas Rangers reliever Jake Diekman is already counting the days until he can start throwing again, even though he still has another surgery ahead in June.
Diekman was back with his teammates Thursday for the first time since the second of three operations to remove and rebuild his colon during treatment for the ulcerative colitis, a digestive condition he has dealt with much of his life.
”I can’t do anything for like six weeks now, we’re a week out already,” Diekman said while sitting at his locker eight days after the latest surgery. ”So in five weeks, I plan on starting to throw. I’m going to throw a lot for the last two weeks so at least my arm can bounce back quicker.”
That would be the two weeks before his final scheduled surgery June 9 at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. He hopes throwing then will allow him to get a head start on rehab after that procedure.
The most recent surgery April 12 is the most extensive of the three, leaving him ”really freaking sore” and 10 pounds lighter. Still, he was in the clubhouse when the Rangers returned from a nine-game West Coast road trip to start a 10-game homestand.
Diekman said he plans to start throwing three weeks after his next surgery, which is about half the recovery time doctors have said is needed for what he described will be ”like a shotgun hole” in his stomach that is going to have to heal.
”Yeah, the doctor doesn’t know that, but I know that,” he said. ”They told me about six weeks, but that’s not happening. It just depends on how my muscles in my abdomen heal and stuff.”
Diekman said waiting that full six weeks would ”put me way behind for what I imagine in my head.”
After his first surgery Jan. 25, Diekman was in Arizona for the start of spring training with his teammates even though he couldn’t participate in any individual or team drills. He had progressed to working out and throwing before his latest procedure.
Texas was aware of the possible surgery and absence in January before agreeing with Diekman on a $2.55 million, one-year contract to avoid salary arbitration. Diekman had a flare-up with his condition, which affects the intestines and colon, during the Christmas holidays.
The 30-year-old Diekman was 4-2 with a 3.40 ERA and four saves in 66 appearances last season. He came to Texas along with ace Cole Hamels in a deal with Philadelphia at the non-waiver trading deadline in 2015.