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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.

Ramon Laureano’s suspension reduced from 6 games to 4

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Oakland Athletics center fielder Ramon Laureano had a six-game suspension reduced to four games Friday after appealing the penalty for his role in a benches-clearing brawl with the rival Houston Astros.

Major League Baseball said a settlement had been reached and the A’s were informed of the decision. Laureano was set to begin the four-game suspension Friday night and will miss a three-game weekend Bay Bridge Series against the San Francisco Giants. After sitting out Monday at Arizona, he will be eligible to play Tuesday against the Diamondbacks.

Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron received a 20-game suspension and a fine Tuesday for his role in the fracas at Oakland last Sunday. Laureano also received a fine.

Cintron’s suspension is the longest for an on-field transgression in 15 years, since Texas pitcher Kenny Rogers received 20 games for his altercation with two cameramen in 2005.

Laureano was hit by a pitch from Humberto Castellanos with one out in the seventh inning of Oakland’s 7-2 victory – the third time he got hit in the series and the fifth time overall for an A’s batter. Houston players weren’t plunked at all. He pointed at Castellanos and began exchanging words with a gesturing Cintron then left first base, threw down his batting helmet and began sprinting toward the 41-year-old Cintron.

Astros catcher Dustin Garneau tackled Laureano before the A’s outfielder got to the hitting coach. Laureano is a former Astros player and the rival clubs have been the top two teams in the AL West the past two years. A’s pitcher Mike Fiers, another former Houston player, revealed the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal in November to The Athletic.