The southpaw's ability to strike out batters at an above-average rate will lock him into an important role in Texas' bullpen. As with many high-effort relievers, he allows too many free passes -- at least 4.4 per nine innings in each of the last three years. His opponents' BABIP came in at a career-low .248, mainly because he allowed more flyballs. For a Texas pitcher, that's living on the edge, and that hit rate was way too low compared to normal (.316 career). Has he turned a corner? Maybe, because perhaps he'll just walk people instead of allowing hits. At least he improved against both right-handed and left-handed bats, which helps his ability to rack up holds, though he remains primarily a situational arm. Several dominoes will need to fall for him to gain consistent save opportunities.
Diekman (abdomen) expects to be pitching by the All-Star break, Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Diekman underwent colon surgery in January and is scheduled to have another operation in April. The 30-year-old reliever has been with Texas for the past two seasons, posting a 3.01 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 92 games. Diekman's absence opens the door for Alex Claudio to get more opportunities as the only returning left-handed reliever. He compiled a 2.79 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 51.2 innings for the Rangers last season.
Diekman (abdomen) underwent surgery that was made necessary by ulcerative colitis on Wednesday, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Although Diekman is slated to return this coming season, he'll undergo a lengthy rehabilitation process, as his colon was removed during Wednesday's procedure. The tentative plan is for him to return around the halfway point of the 2017 campaign, but a more specific timeframe should become available as his rehab progresses.
Diekman (stomach) will undergo surgery to help alleviate ulcerative colitis Jan. 25 and will miss at least half of the season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. This is unfortunate news for both Diekman and the Rangers, as the 29-year-old enjoyed a solid year in 2016, recording a 3.40 ERA while striking out 59 batters across 53 innings. He was also Texas' top southpaw setup man, and the Rangers will likely turn to Alex Claudio to fill the left-handed void in the bullpen until Diekman is available to return.
Diekman and the Rangers avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.55 million deal on Saturday, Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball reports. Diekman enjoyed a strong year in 2016, pitching a 3.40 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 53 innings. He even managed to pick up four saves, which might have helped him double his salary in his round of arbitration. The 29-year-old is on track to be a free agent after the 2018 season.
Diekman picked up his fourth save with a scoreless 12th inning Monday against the Astros. Diekman was forced into action thanks to extra innings and managed to rebound well from his previous three outings, in which he had mustered just three outs and allowed three walks, four hits and five runs. Still, he remains squarely behind Sam Dyson for the closer's spot in Texas.