Forget the final score Friday at Globe Life Park. The Texas Rangers’ 5-1 loss doesn’t even begin to tell how bad of a day it was for them in their home opener.
Derek Holland could be out until July after suffering a muscle strain in his left scapula, an injury that a team already missing Yu Darvish from its rotation couldn’t afford to have.
The club also lost left fielder Ryan Rua to a sprained right ankle, an injury that is expected to put him on the disabled list, and right fielder Shin-Soo Choo will likely miss a few games after he, too, left early with spasms in his upper back.
After the season the Rangers endured in 2014, when injuries conspired to wreck their season, the hits kept coming on a day that typically is filled with optimism and good vibrations.
“I’m pretty beat up about this,” Holland said. “I don’t want to miss anything at all. It really sucks.”
The official diagnosis on Holland’s shoulder is that he has a strained subscapularis muscle and won’t throw for at least four weeks. A scan will be performed at the four-week mark to see if the muscle has healed.
He would then go through a throwing program to rebuild his arm strength and make multiple starts on a rehab assignment before returning from the disabled list. Holland might not start again until July.
The injury is not in the same area as the early-spring shoulder soreness that delayed Holland’s season preparations. He said that everything was in working order, though, despite not taking the mound for the first time until March 14.
Holland missed the first five months of last season because of knee surgery after a fall at his home.
“This is not what I wanted,” he said.
One candidate to move into Holland’s spot in the rotation Wednesday is right-hander Anthony Bass, who limited the Astros to one run in five innings of emergency relief.
Triple A left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, signed earlier this week to a minor league deal, is another candidate, as are righties Anthony Ranaudo and Alex Gonzalez.
“We’re still talking about our options,” general manager Jon Daniels said.
Holland felt the discomfort in the back of his shoulder on his final warm-up pitch. His fastball velocity topped out at 89 mph, 4-5 mph slower than where his heater sits when he’s healthy and a tell-tale sign that something was amiss.
He said that his warm-up in the bullpen was terrific, that he was hitting his spots and that his velocity was normal. But the Rangers started to see signs that something was amiss in the first inning.
Jose Altuve hit Holland’s first pitch up the middle for a single. Third baseman Adrian Beltre and catcher Robinson Chirinos visited Holland after he allowed a solo homer to Jed Lowrie.
Holland barked into his glove as he walked toward the dugout and, eventually, onto the training table.
Bass started warming up, and manager Jeff Banister removed Holland to start the second inning.
“When you pay attention and you watch and you see and you look at all your indicators, that’s why we went ahead and got Bass going,” Banister said.
Choo exited an inning later, but was feeling much better after the game and was hopeful of playing Saturday.
Rua was gone by the sixth after feeling something as he chased down a double to the wall in the fifth. He was wearing a walking boot after the game, and didn’t have a rosy outlook.
“It’s just a bad ankle sprain,” Rua said.
Kyle Blanks was scratched from the Triple A team’s lineup Friday night and could be an option to take Rua’s spot even though he didn’t play outfield during spring training as he recovered from injuries to both Achilles tendons.
The Rangers already have two outfielders, Jake Smolinski and Delino DeShields Jr., on the bench.
But replacing Rua is a far easier task than replacing Holland, who will miss a significant stretch after pitching only one inning Friday.
“Unbelievable,” Daniels said.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760