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Jake Diekman had his colon removed

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We learned in December that Rangers pitcher Jake Diekman would be undergoing surgery to treat ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. I don’t suspect that anyone who has not either had or known someone who has had ulcerative colitis was aware of just how major this surgery was.

Today Evan Grant reports on Diekman’s surgery and his road ahead. It’s a notably major procedure, almost unprecedented for top flight athletes:

Rangers reliever Jake Diekman on Wednesday took the first step in the long road back to pitching for the club, undergoing a successful four-hour procedure to remove his colon, which has been wrecked by ulcerative colitis. Diekman, who turned 30 last week, will miss at least the first half of the season while recovering from a series of procedures to create a reservoir known as a J-pouch to account for the loss of the colon.

This is obviously not a mere tuneup, and there will be further procedures.

Diekman, a long time spokesman for the disease he’s had since he was 11, is doing video diaries about his medical journey, the first of which can be viewed at the bottom of Grant’s piece.

If and when Diekman makes it back to a big league mound — and it’s expected he will, albeit after an extended rehabilitation — it will be one of the more remarkable comebacks in recent memory.

Video: Jaime Garcia hits a 399-foot grand slam

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Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.

The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.

Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.

As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:

Ryon Healy exits game after taking a ground ball to the face

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Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.

Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.

Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.