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Diekman encouraged by first rehab outing

Rangers' reliever pitches 1-2-3 inning in first game in 10 months
MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Jake Diekman pitched in an organized game for the first time this year on Thursday night, going one inning in a rehab assignment for Double-A Frisco as he works his way back from a trio of surgeries he underwent to correct ulcerative colitis.

Diekman said he was more excited than nervous to pitch for the first time in 10 months. He threw 13 pitches -- eight for strikes -- striking out a pair of batters and inducing a groundout to another hitter to work a perfect inning.

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ARLINGTON -- Jake Diekman pitched in an organized game for the first time this year on Thursday night, going one inning in a rehab assignment for Double-A Frisco as he works his way back from a trio of surgeries he underwent to correct ulcerative colitis.

Diekman said he was more excited than nervous to pitch for the first time in 10 months. He threw 13 pitches -- eight for strikes -- striking out a pair of batters and inducing a groundout to another hitter to work a perfect inning.

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"The first two pitches were terrible," Diekman said after his outing. "I mean I felt pretty good. It was a very long inning. This is the first time where I've played long toss, sat for, like, four hours and had to throw. I felt all right. Really tired. That's to be expected."

While in the Rangers clubhouse on Wednesday, Diekman said he planned on establishing his command with his fastball before attempting any off-speed pitches. The only times he'd throw anything other than a fastball were in specific counts, and he did that Thursday.

"I said to [Frisco catcher Jose] Trevino that if I throw a slider, it's only going to be in an 0-2, 1-2 count. Other than that, I'm not going to throw one. I didn't really get to that position until the last hitter. It was more working on the fastball command. After the first two pitches, I felt I did pretty well. I don't know if I was trying to rush or whatever it was, but after that I took a breath and was like, 'Well, you need to throw strikes. You can't walk the first hitter.'"

Diekman said he'd like to throw a few more rehab outings before trying to pitch with the Rangers, but he's got to pass a few more hurdles before that becomes a possibility.

"I've got to pass the eye test," he said. "I've got to make sure the organization feels like I'm physically fit enough to pitch. My arm has to bounce back. I'm going to have to be able to go back-to-back, maybe three days in a row."

Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas.

Texas Rangers, Jake Diekman