SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The diamond is almost out of the rough.
Rangers pitcher Thomas Diamond had an important moment on Wednesday when he threw to hitters for the first time since undergoing Tommy John elbow ligament reconstruction surgery a year ago.
Diamond, who was optioned to Double-A Frisco earlier in camp, threw 30 pitches in a simulated game on Wednesday. He had thrown to hitters last Friday, but they weren't swinging. On Wednesday, they were swinging.
"Today, I had to worry about a line drive back up the middle," Diamond said. "This tells me I can get people out and I can hit a spot with a guy up there trying to swing."
Diamond, the Rangers No. 1 pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, is still building arm strength and endurance and the Rangers are still shooting for June 1 as the date he pitches in a real game again. Thursday will mark one year since the surgery.
"He's close," Minor League pitching coordinator Rick Adair said. "He looks pretty good."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.