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Former Royal Diekman questions whether there will be a season

Janie McCauley
AP Baseball Writer

OAKLAND, Calif. – Jake Diekman has serious questions about Major League Baseball's ability to pull off a season given the issues everywhere getting timely test results, forcing delays and cancellations of workouts.

For now, Diekman still plans to play. He must be extra careful given he has the autoimmune condition ulcerative colitis.

"Once the regular season hits there's no way I'm opting out, but if they don't get the testing figured out then this whole thing will get shut down," Diekman said. "During the season there's no way we can go 72 hours or longer without knowing our result, there's just no way. There's no way that can possibly happen and this be safe for all 60, 70 days or whatever it is."

The Oakland lefty said "I'm high risk so I'm going to have to speak out. I don't want to get sick" and represents others who must take added precautions because of an underlying condition.

"There's a little part in everyone's mind that thinks this whole thing's going to get shut down," said Diekman, who pitched in 48 games for the Kansas City Royals last season before a midseason trade to Oakland for a pair of minor league prospects. "I think everyone has a little bit of fear. They might not say it but there's a little bit of fear in everyone's head that that might happen, because if they don't get this figured out, you can't have teams not practicing a day or two in a row and they have two weeks until the regular season starts. There's just no way that should happen.

"If guys aren't thinking that way, I just feel like you need to be somewhat of a realist."

Across San Francisco Bay, the Giants had to cancel their planned workout Tuesday at Oracle Park because results from tests administered last Saturday hadn't been received.

"Nobody expected this to be easy and everybody is doing the best that they can," Kapler said.

Sure, Diekman realizes the Utah lab administering results is backlogged and facing daunting demands such as an upwards of several thousand tests a day "makes zero sense to me."

"I don't really get it," he said. "I hope that they get the testing figured out."

An email and phone message to Daniel Eichner, President of the Sports Medicine Research & Testing Laboratory, weren't immediately returned Tuesday.

"There are two teams, maybe more, that aren't even going on the field today. That just can't happen," the 33-year-old Diekman said. "I have no idea what else to say. In a perfect world, there would be zero, but this is the first time they've probably ever done this. This lab is probably getting anywhere, I don't know how many they're getting a week.

"I know they're trying their hardest but I don't know if that's good enough for right now. It's a little worrisome," he said. "Say we go on a 10-day road trip and we only get results one time, that's not very good with 45-50 people in a clubhouse at one time."