ARLINGTON — Derek Holland held the distinct honor of being the first Texas Rangers pitcher to face Josh Hamilton this season. He’ll be the first to face Mike Napoli on Friday night.Holland and Napoli have exchanged a few good-natured text messages in preparation for the series opener. But Holland smiled when summing up his feelings.“He’s on the other side, so who cares about him right now?” Holland said. “But I do miss him as a teammate.”Napoli, who signed a one-year deal with Boston in the off-season, is part of the reason for the Red Sox’s surprisingly strong start. He went into Thursday’s games leading the American League in RBIs (31) and doubles (14).In a matter of a year, the Red Sox have gone from a dysfunctional last-place team last season to a first-place team this year with the most wins in the AL.Holland, though, isn’t going to change anything in his game plan. He is pleased with how his season has started, saying the key has been his preparation between starts.“That’s been huge for me and helping me become the pitcher I am,” said Holland, who has a 3.38 ERA over his first five starts. “I’ve felt like I’ve been consistent this whole year.”Injury updatesRehab assignments have been set for Colby Lewis and Martin Perez, a significant step for both.Lewis, who had flexor tendon surgery last July, is scheduled to join Triple A Round Rock for a start next Thursday at Las Vegas. He is scheduled to pitch in his second extended spring game Saturday.Perez, recovering from a broken left wrist suffered in spring training, will join Double A Frisco for a start Monday.Third baseman Mike Olt, the Rangers’ No. 2 prospect, is still sidelined with vision issues. He was evaluated by an eye doctor who did not find anything out of the ordinary, but recommended he see an eye specialist, which is the next step.Olt hasn’t played since April 25, and has batted .139 in 20 games.Support for WestMLB and the players’ union announced a combined donation of $100,000 for the victims of last month’s fertilizer plant explosion in West.Baseball fans around the country will also be encouraged to donate to the POINTWEST Bank Fund during all national broadcasts.“MLB is proud to support the people of West, Texas, during their community’s difficult time of need,” Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. “We hope that our industry’s contribution will assist in the community’s recovery.”The Rangers and their fans filled two large meeting rooms with donation items, and sent thousands of dollars in gift cards and $40,000 in cash to help the relief initiatives in West during the last homestand.Briefly• Reliever Michael Kirkman on shaving his beard: “Hopefully it helps me have a better month. ... No, I know it has nothing to do with it, but my wife was sick of the beard.”• Ian Kinsler admitted playing in cold temperatures “is not fun.” First pitch on Thursday was 44 degrees, third coldest in Rangers Ballpark history and the coldest temperature for a May game.• The Rangers are one of only five teams in the majors who have used the same seven relievers this season. They join Arizona, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Washington.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison