Jake Diekman was happy to finally be back on the field with position players on Tuesday. It had been the first time he’s thrown off of a dirt mound against hitters in four months.
The A’s reliever threw 10 pitches to outfielder Ramón Laureano, who was “locked in.”
“[Laureano] said it was a ball, but it was a strike,” Diekman quipped in a Zoom interview with reporters.
Diekman felt good, but there were more pressing matters on his mind.
The A's reliever remained outspoken about the delay in coronavirus testing results, which put a postponement and cancelation on some MLB team’s workouts, including the A’s.
He let out a small chuckle when asked if his frustrations have lessened since discussing potentially opting out.
"Testing still is very, very slow," he said. "What -- there are two teams, maybe more than that -- that aren't even going out on the field today? That just can't happen. I have no idea what else to say."
"This is the first time they've probably ever done this, this lab is probably getting anywhere -- I have no idea how many they're getting a week, I read somewhere it's like 15,000 -- so if they've never done that, I can't do math in my head right, but I don't know how many you have to do in a day. I know they're trying their hardest, but I don't know if that's good enough for right now."
Diekman said it was worrisome specifically should the team go on a road trip. If there was a situation where they would only get results at one time, "that's not very good with 45-50 people in the clubhouse at a time," he explained.
He doesn't believe he's alone in the sentiment, either.
"When I said that I think that there's a little part in everyone's mind that thinks this whole thing is going to get shut down, I think everyone has a little bit of fear, they might not say it, but there's a little bit of fear that might happen -- because if they don't get this figured out, I mean -- you can't have teams not practicing a day or two in a row and we have two weeks until the regular season starts. There's just no way that should happen.
"I feel that you have to be something of a realist."
Diekman also wanted to make sure that those around him, including players and everyone involved in the season, takes the necessary precautions to stay safe during the season.
"You can get every single essential item delivered to your house. If you can't do it for 90 days, I honestly don't know if I really want to talk to you," he said. "We want to play like, tomorrow. I want to play no matter what. The only way I won't play is if this whole thing gets shut down."
"I hope they get the testing figured out," he continued. "I don't want it to be the 24th [of July] and they just bang the whole thing. That's how I feel. I'm going to get a lot of s--t for this, but I don't really care. We have to get testing more than three or four days out. Otherwise, the entire clubhouse will be affected on a 10-day road trip."
Star rookie pitcher Jesús Luzardo reportedly tested positive for coronavirus, as the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported Tuesday. While he will be self-isolated for 14 days, Diekman said he hadn't personally spoken to Luzardo since the news of his results came out and didn't want to comment any further than that.