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Diekman looking sharp in rehab at Triple-A

Reliever retired all four batters he faced
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

OAKLAND -- Rangers reliever Jake Diekman continues to impress on medical rehabilitation assignment, and all signs point to his return in September.

Diekman pitched for Triple-A Round Rock at Nashville on Saturday night, retiring all four hitters he faced and striking out two. He threw 16 pitches.

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OAKLAND -- Rangers reliever Jake Diekman continues to impress on medical rehabilitation assignment, and all signs point to his return in September.

Diekman pitched for Triple-A Round Rock at Nashville on Saturday night, retiring all four hitters he faced and striking out two. He threw 16 pitches.

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"He wanted to go an extra inning and they wouldn't let him," pitching coach Doug Brocail said. "He got an extra 10 in the bullpen afterward."

Diekman has been sidelined all season while undergoing three operations to relieve ulcerative colitis. He has made four appearances in the Minors and has yet to allow a run or hit in 4 1/3 innings. Opponents are 0-for-13 with six strikeouts.

"He seemed to be pretty efficient and his stuff was sharp," manager Jeff Banister said. "He is getting closer."

Diekman, 30, will get at least one more outing in the Minors, and there is a possibility he could pitch back-to-back games. That's always a final test for a reliever in Spring Training.

"We'll sit down and discuss that," Banister said.

A case could be made that Diekman would easily be one of the Rangers best relievers right now. But Banister said the Rangers are not going to rush the process.

"Until we put him through what he needs to go through, that would be selfish of us," Banister said. "He missed significant time. He needs to go through the buildup of arm strength. This is going to be a significant pitcher for us for awhile. I don't want to trip at the end and put his career in jeopardy."

Andrus turns 29

Shortstop Elvis Andrus turned 29 on Saturday and did so with 1,416 hits. The total is significant.

According to STATS Inc., only three active players had more hits than that before their 29th birthday. Miguel Cabrera had 1,607 hits before turning 29, Albert Pujols had 1,531 and Adrian Beltre had 1,439.

The only Rangers player who had more hits before turning 29 than Andrus was Ivan Rodriguez. One of the newest members of the Hall of Fame, Rodriguez had 1,459 hits on his birthday.

Rangers beat

• The Rangers had gone 27 games without a triple before Robinson Chirinos hit one on Saturday night. The Rangers, going into Saturday, had just 15 triples as a team all year, tied for ninth in the league.

• Saturday was the Rangers 33rd day game, the fewest in the American League.

Joey Gallo, on the seven-day concussion disabled list, was allowed to watch the game from the dugout on Saturday. The protocol required him to be in the clubhouse until he was symptom free.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Jake Diekman