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Alexander feels stronger, managing diabetes

MLB.com @FlannyMLB

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It was June of 2016 and Royals left-hander Scott Alexander kept feeling weaker and weaker.

And Alexander, 27, kept losing weight, rapidly.

Full Game Coverage

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It was June of 2016 and Royals left-hander Scott Alexander kept feeling weaker and weaker.

And Alexander, 27, kept losing weight, rapidly.

Full Game Coverage

At first, he didn't think much of it. But finally on a road trip with Triple-Omaha, Alexander, who worked one inning on Tuesday against the Reds and did not give up an earned run, got so weak that team trainers urged him to drive back to Omaha to get a blood test.

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The results showed he had a blood-sugar level in the 300s. He had Type 1 diabetes.

Alexander was shocked and relieved at the same time. At least he knew what the problem was and how to treat it.

"I had noticed for quite a while that I wasn't recovering the same way and not feeling strong," Alexander said. "So it was good to get the right diagnosis.

"I'm still learning as I go along. I've had a lot of help here with the Royals. Had a lot of help with my friends and family. We'll see how it goes."

The biggest adjustment for Alexander is basic lifestyle changes in his diet.

"I take insulin and watch what I eat," he said. "I limit my sugar intake and carbs. It's been different. Still learning. I'll see how it goes. Right now, I feel good."

The Royals' coaching staff has seen a change in Alexander on the mound.

"He's been really impressive," manager Ned Yost said. "Stronger. Like what I've seen."

Alexander was dominant in his first three outings, tossing three scoreless innings with three strikeouts.

"So far it's been good," Alexander said. "First couple of outings, I just wanted to go out and throw strikes. I'm just trying to keep doing that."

Yet, Alexander knows he faces some stiff competition for one, maybe two bullpen spots. The Royals still have over 20 pitchers in camp battling for those spots.

"We have a lot of good pitchers here," Alexander said. "They all work hard. They all bring a lot to the table.

"I'm just going to do whatever I can do to get myself ready. I'm not going to try to think about it too much. I can't control how the other guys throw. I can control what I do."

At the very least, Alexander goes in to the fight with a more level playing field, health-wise.

"Compared to last year, I feel a lot better," he said. "We'll see how it translates. So far so good."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kansas City Royals, Scott Alexander