Left-hander Derek Holland expects to return more quickly from microfracture surgery than former teammate Scott Feldman, whose 2010 injury was more severe than the one Holland suffered two weeks ago.
Holland is already bending his knee at 90 degrees after the Jan. 10 operation, and he hopes to be on a stationary bike next week.
He isn’t sure if he will be at spring training, but his schedule calls for him to start walking without crutches Feb. 20.
“I’ve been doing a lot of therapy and doing what the doctors and the staff have been telling me,” Holland said Saturday before his autograph session at Fan Fest. “I feel very good with the way things have been going, but I can’t rush anything.”
The operation Feldman had focused more on the femur bone and stabilizing the knee. Holland suffered only cartilage damage under his kneecap Jan. 7 when he was tripped by his dog, a 70-pound boxer named Wrigley, as they went up the wooden stairs at his home.
Holland has been put on a strict diet by Rangers strength and conditioning coach Jose Vazquez. Holland is continuing with his upper-body weights program, but won’t try to throw again until he can walk.
Darvish for opener
Manager Ron Washington revealed the Rangers’ starting pitcher on Opening Day, even though it’s still January.
He probably could have done it the day after the 2013 season ended.
“I think it’s obvious,” Washington said. “It’s Yu Darvish.”
Darvish went 13-9 with a 2.83 ERA, led the majors in strikeouts and hits per nine innings, and was the runner-up to Max Scherzer for the American League Cy Young Award.
He pitched the final six weeks with an inflamed nerve in his lower back, and Washington tempered his remarks with the obligatory “if healthy” qualifier.
Darvish would become the Rangers’ sixth different Opening Day starter the past six seasons March 31 against Philadelphia, a stretch that started with Kevin Millwood in 2009. Millwood was followed by Feldman, C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison.
General manager Jon Daniels said that he hopes the Rangers can be part of a potential Michael Young retirement ceremony when and if the franchise’s all-time hits leader chooses to stop playing.
Daniels, though, believes that Young will have several opportunities to play in 2014. If he does retire, as he reportedly is considering, it will be to spend more time with his wife and three sons than because he is unable to be a solid contributor to a team.
“If and when that day comes, we certainly want to be involved,” Daniels said.
Daniels told a Fan Fest crowd that the Rangers considered Young for a utility job, but decided to go with their in-house candidates. The club’s focus as spring training approaches is to add pitching depth, and the free-agent market is starting to heat up again.
“I mean guys who can help our big league club,” Daniels said. “We would have been looking for that this time of year anyway before Derek [Holland’s injury].”