Jake Diekman encouraged by third live batting practice Monday

Rangers reliever Jake Diekman said he feels a lot stronger after his third live batting practice before Monday's game.
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Rangers reliever Jake Diekman said he feels a lot stronger after his third live batting practice before Monday's game.
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Texas Rangers

Jake Diekman shows progress during third live batting practice

By Stefan Stevenson

sstevenson@star-telegram.com

August 14, 2017 07:12 PM

ARLINGTON

Jake Diekman’s immediate plan forward is unknown but the Rangers’ left-handed reliever is much closer to joining his team for the first time this season.

Diekman threw his third live batting practice before Monday’s game and said he felt great after throwing about 30 pitches. That wasn’t the case during his last outing in Minnesota on Aug. 5.

“I think I was supposed to throw 20, but I got a little mad,” said Diekman, who was a little peeved after Drew Robinson homered against him. “I don’t have a dead arm anymore. I feel like my arm strength will just continue to keep going.”

Rangers manager Jeff Banister was impressed with the progress Diekman has made, but cautioned that Diekman’s return to the roster may still be a ways off. Diekman had three surgeries to remove and reconstruct his colon after suffering from ulcerative colitis for most of his life.

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“Today was probably his best day. It seemed like his strength was really close. Energy was great. I think he only needed to stop or pause for one small section of the pitches he threw.”

Diekman’s’ velocity was up some to 91 to 94 mph, he said.

He thinks his velocity will rise even more when he’s pitching in a real game.

“I feel really good. I’m not sore right now, I feel like I could probably pitch again [today],” he said. “I feel like I’m just going to get stronger and stronger and stronger. Your adrenaline will be more, you’ll probably throw harder. You’ll fly open a lot more with your mechanics, you’ll probably be super excited. Just stuff like that, and I’ll need to be able to harness that.”

Banister said Diekman is still early in the process of his come back, especially compared to a typical build up during spring training.

“As always, I’m not going to speculate right now on what our next step is,” Banister said. “Our next step is allowing him 24 hours and to play catch and see how he feels and then make a decision on what the plan is after that.”

Stefan Stevenson: 817-390-7760, @StevensonFWST