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.
The postseason has a knack for finding unlikely heroes. Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki was 1-for-23 in the postseason entering Wednesday’s Game 2 of the World Series. The Nats and Astros each plated two runs in the first inning, then went otherwise scoreless through the sixth inning. In the top of the seventh, with Justin Verlander returning to the mound, Suzuki demolished a high, 1-0 fastball just below the train tracks in left field at Minute Maid Park, breaking the 2-2 tie.
Verlander proceeded to walk Victor Robles, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to take his veteran starter out of the game. Ryan Pressly came in to attempt to keep it a one-run game.
The underdog Nationals held on to defeat the Astros 5-4 in Game 1. Another victory by the Nats in Game 2 would put the Astros — heavy favorites according to oddsmakers — in a big hole.
Update: Pressly walked the first batter he faced, Trea Turner. Adam Eaton successfully sacrifice bunted both runners over. After Anthony Rendon flied out to shallow center field, Hinch decided to issue his team’s first intentional walk of the entire year to Juan Soto, loading the bases. Howie Kendrick then hit what appeared to be an inning-ending ground out, but Alex Bregman booted the ball as he moved to his left. Turner scored to make it 4-2. The floodgates opened when Asdrúbal Cabrera lined a single to center field, bringing home two more runs to pad the lead to 6-2. While pitching to Ryan Zimmerman, Pressly uncorked a wild pitch to allow the two base runners to advance. Zimmerman followed up with a slow roller down the third base line which Bregman barehanded and proceeded to throw away. Two more runs scored. 8-2. Yiiiikes, Astros.