PEORIA, Ariz. — Almost a month had passed since manager Ron Washington had last seen Derek Holland pitch in a Cactus League game Feb. 28.Holland had pitched in an exhibition game for Team USA, in the World Baseball Classic against Canada, and in a minor league game a week ago. But entering Monday, Washington was still trying to get a feel for the left-hander.Each left the Peoria Sports Complex feeling fairly good after Holland allowed three runs on six hits in a 3-1 loss to San Diego.“If he throws like that, he’s going to keep us in a lot of ballgames,” Washington said. “There’s three pitches out of the 80 he threw that he could question. He competed out there.”Holland was touched for a two-run homer by Jesus Guzman in the first inning and an RBI double by Chris Denorfia in the fifth. The rest was good, especially the way he wiggled out of trouble after Denorfia’s no-out double and a sacrifice bunt that moved him to third with one out.Holland struck out seven and walked only one as he threw all three of his pitches for strikes. He was so efficient through six innings, throwing just 81 pitches, that he went to the bullpen for 20 more.“Everything’s fine,” Holland said. “I’m definitely ready. I got all my work in, and I felt strong.”The Rangers’ offense was cooled off by Jason Marquis. The only RBI was collected in the second inning by Holland, who floated a single over the infield to score Leury Garcia. Holland batted because the game was played under National League rules.“We had a good time with that,” Holland said. “I knocked the cover off the ball.”Elvis Andrus followed the Holland hit with a double to push his Cactus League hitting streak to 14 games.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson