Texas Rangers relief pitcher Jake Diekman is scheduled to have surgery later this month to minimize the effects of ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease.
The surgery will keep him out of action for at least half of the 2017 season, multiple media outlet reported Tuesday.
Diekman was diagnosed with colitis when he was 11 years old, and he turns 30 this week. He wanted to delay the surgery until after the 2017 season, but doctors told him that putting off the operation would increase the health risk.
"It's one of those step-away-from-baseball deals," general manager Jon Daniels told the Dallas Morning News. "I know he's a big-time competitor and is not looking forward to being away from the club. From a competitive standpoint, you hate to lose someone like him, but this is the right thing to do."
The left-handed Diekman appeared in 60 games for the Rangers in 2016, and he had a 4-2 record with four saves and a 3.40 earned-run average in 53 innings pitched.
Diekman avoided arbitration last week by agreeing to a $2.55 million salary for the 2017 season.