Jake Diekman has said that he went through medical hell in 2017 to rid his body of ulcerative colitis, but all along his goal — aside from ridding himself of the disease — was to pitch at some point despite three major surgical procedures.
The left-hander accomplished his goal, doing as much between operations as (and often more than) his Mayo Clinic doctors would allow, and returned Sept. 1 to the Texas Rangers’ active roster.
His journey and the work he did along the way help him easily earn the fourth annual Richard Durrett Hardest Working Man Award, given to the Rangers player who gave his all during the season.
Diekman, who was married last weekend, didn’t have a record in 11 appearances, but posted a 2.53 ERA and one save over 10 2/3 innings. As the roster stands now, Diekman is a front-runner to be the Rangers’ closer in 2018.
The Rangers also signed reliever Steve Delabar, a right-hander and former American League All-Star, and outfielder Destin Hood to a minor-league contracts with invitations to spring training.
Additionally, the Rangers have shifted the dates of a home series against Arizona to Aug. 13-14 from Aug. 14-15 to accommodate the Diamondbacks’ late-night trip to San Diego, a city that limits how late plans can land at San Diego International Airport.
Arizona will have a day off Aug. 15 after flying into the Los Angeles area and arriving in San Diego near dawn after a busing in.
The Rangers will also be off Aug. 15 and won’t have to play a day game under the August heat Aug. 14.