Content with their young left-handed relievers, Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said last week that it was unlikely the club would sign a veteran free-agent lefty to add to the bullpen.
The lefty who immediately came to mind was Jake Diekman, a bullpen force for the Rangers in the playoff drives in 2015 and 2016 before he missed most of 2017 to have a series of surgeries to correct ulcerative colitis.
He was traded last season at the July 31 deadline and said, through tears, that he wanted to return to the Rangers.
Diekman had to settle on their roommates at the Surprise Recreation Campus.
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The Kansas City Royals signed Diekman to a one-year contract Wednesday that comes with a club option for 2020. The total guaranteed money in the deal is $2.75 million.
The Rangers sent Diekman to the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 31, receiving right-hander Wei-Chieh Huang and a player to be named. That player became right-hander Joshua Javier.
Huang was added to the 40-man roster in November and is in big-league camp after he pitched at Double A Frisco last season.
Diekman delivered with the Rangers after coming from the Philadelphia Phillies at the 2015 trade deadline along with Cole Hamels. Diekman, in 150 appearances over four seasons with the Rangers, went 5-3 with a 3.18 ERA and seven saves. He struck out 140 in 124 1/3 innings.
Jeffrey Springs, who took Diekman’s spot on the roster last summer, is the front-runner to be a lefty in the bullpen.