Holland shrugs off rough inning, says he's 'ready'
Rangers starter allows three homers in sixth frame of second rehab start
ROUND ROCK, Texas -- Derek Holland was brilliant for all but one inning Monday night. It cost him.After allowing just three baserunners in the first five innings, the Rangers left-hander gave up three home runs in the sixth in his second rehab start with Triple-A Round Rock. Despite the five-run inning, Holland was pleased -- giving up eight hits in six frames, striking out four and walking none, while throwing 73 pitches, 54 for strikes -- in front of 7,846 at the Dell Diamond during a 7-1 loss to New Orleans.
Holland, who is recovering from left shoulder and elbow fatigue, along with a stomach virus, will likely make a third Minor League start Saturday, possibly with Double-A Frisco."I felt like everything was good. I just let a couple pitches get away," Holland said. "I threw a lot of quality pitches. The only thing that really hurt me was a couple pitches in the sixth inning. Everything else was still good. The location was there, they just started swinging." Holland had allowed just three singles and retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced going into the sixth. A leadoff home run from Luke Montz broke a scoreless tie before an RBI double by Chris Coghlan three batters later extended the Zephyrs' lead to 2-0. Back-to-back two-out home runs from Nick Green and Donnie Murphy made it 5-0. "I'm not too worried about it," Holland said. "If anything, I think they were sitting on my fastball. I'm not sure, but they might have known it was my last inning. They came out swinging at the fastball." The Rangers had left open the possibility of Holland making his next start against the Twins on Saturday and moving Yu Darvish's start up to Friday. But Martin Perez will likely start for the Rangers on Friday, followed by Darvish on Saturday. If Holland doesn't get called up, he may pitch in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday, where the RoughRiders will take on Springfield, instead of traveling with Round Rock to Albuquerque this weekend. "I feel like I'm ready, but I'm not going to make any calls," Holland said. "I'll leave it up to them." One of the people that will help make that call, Rangers president Nolan Ryan, was in attendance Monday night to watch Holland. "To me, he's just like one of us," Holland said. "I just want to show him what I'm capable of doing. I know he came down to see how prepared I was, how ready I am. For the most part, I think I should be ready to go." Holland said he plans on flying up to Chicago to meet up with the Rangers, who begin a three-game series against the White Sox on Tuesday. There, he will have a bullpen session with Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux. Holland said he has gained much of the weight he lost while suffering from the stomach bug that has also kept him out for more than three weeks, weighing in at 208-209 pounds before Monday's game. Holland gave up one run on three hits, one of them being a solo homer, in three innings of his first start with Round Rock on Wednesday. Before the sixth inning of his second Minor League game, Holland had not allowed a baserunner past second base and had thrown just 58 pitches. "I was very pleased," said Holland of his performance through five innings. "I used all my pitches. I got them to chase, I expanded the zone. My big thing was my changeup. I was very happy with that." Despite facing eight hitters in the sixth, Holland threw just 15 pitches in the inning, 12 of them strikes. Five batters made contact on the first pitch of their at-bat in the sixth, including Green, who hit a fastball from Holland over the wall in left-center field for a two-run homer. Only three of the 25 batters Holland faced Monday saw more than four pitches, and only one worked a three-ball count. "I'm very strong on that, with walks and not giving up any free bases," Holland said. "I think I came close to someone with a 3-2 count, but I threw a quality pitch. If I would've walked him, I would've tipped my hat, but I wasn't going to give it up." The Rangers are rumored to be interested in trading for the Phillies' Cole Hamels and the Brewers' Zack Greinke before the July 31 Trade Deadline, although club officials are downplaying that possibility. Like Holland, the Rangers expect Colby Lewis to return to their rotation after the All-Star break. Lewis was placed on the DL last week with tightness in his right forearm. Neftali Feliz should be back by the beginning of August. The Rangers currently have six pitchers on the DL, with Koji Uehara (strained lat), Alexi Ogando (strained groin), and Mark Lowe (strained intercostal muscle) rounding out the injured members of the Rangers' staff.
Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.