March 17, 2013

Rangers notes: Derek Holland to start minor-league game on Tuesday

The Rangers left-hander believes he’s over the stomach virus that knocked him out of Round 2 in the WBC.

Derek Holland returned to Rangers camp, is feeling better and is scheduled to pitch in a minor-league game on Tuesday.

Holland believes he’s almost fully recovered from his bout with food poisoning that he suffered while at the World Baseball Classic.

Holland, who made only one start for Team USA on March 10, is slated for a five-inning, 80-pitch outing Tuesday. That’s assuming Holland is cleared by Texas Rangers physician David Hunter, who was scheduled to examine him Monday night.

“I’ve gotten to a better stage now,” Holland said. “It’s better. I just had to watch what I ate, but I’m just like, ‘Is this really happening to me?’ ”

Holland, of course, was having an “unbelievable” time at the WBC when the stomach bug knocked him out of the second round. He has had problems with his stomach in the past, having been sidelined for a month last year after a virus caused him to lose weight and strength.

Holland said the two are different, reminding colorfully that this latest bug is almost out of his system.

Bullpen coach Andy Hawkins is excited to see Holland back in camp, saying: “When he left, he was extremely sharp. The last bullpen we saw him throw was probably the best I’ve seen Derek throw in a couple years.”

Holland carried it over to his lone start in the WBC, allowing two runs on four hits over five innings to lead Team USA to a 9-4 victory over Canada.

As far as his WBC experience, Holland said: “It was a huge honor. At the same time, we were trying to go out and win everything. This is where baseball was invented and we were supposed to go out there and do our part and win it all. Unfortunately we came up short, but you’ve got to tip your hat to the other guys.”

Tough break

The shrug of his shoulders said it all.

Kyle McClellan heard the numerous setbacks pitchers went through while recovering from shoulder surgery but was hoping to avoid it. He didn’t, though, as it was announced Saturday that a strained right lat (back muscle) will shut him down for 3-4 weeks before resuming a throwing program.

“It’s about as tough as it gets,” McClellan said. “You work so hard all of last year and the off-season and coming out so close. I felt great, finally, and was able to go out there and show my stuff for a short period of time.”

McClellan threw two scoreless innings in his spring debut against Milwaukee on Tuesday but knew he did something in the first inning. He simply hoped it was a minor tweak and something he’d bounce back from.

“I just felt like I over-extended or something, but I didn’t know,” McClellan said. “Had I known, I would’ve stopped right away.”

McClellan could opt out of his contract on Friday, but said that wasn’t likely. He feels a loyalty to the Rangers for giving him a chance after he had season-ending shoulder surgery last July, and said the plan is for him to “get comfortable” in Arizona.

“It’ll be my fourth extended spring training,” McClellan said.

Finishing strong

Josh Lindblom had an 8.44 ERA after his first five spring appearances. He has since turned in consecutive scoreless outings against the Giants on March 11 and the Dodgers on Saturday.

Lindblom, acquired this winter in the Michael Young trade, is hoping to use that to jump-start his campaign to make the Rangers’ bullpen on Opening Day.

“I’ve taken the approach of mentally locking in and focusing in on each and every pitch,” Lindblom said. “Now is not the time to work on stuff. Now it’s more game situations and focus on executing pitches.”

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