Texas Rangers left-hander Derek Holland is scheduled to pitch two innings at Double-A Frisco on Wednesday.
Holland has been out with a knee injury since January. He’s scheduled to go through pitcher’s fielding practice Sunday and will pitch two innings, if his body responds well.
Holland echoed the sentiments of general manager Jon Daniels who said more than a week ago in Toronto that Holland would likely be pitching if the club was involved in a pennant race. Holland, more than anything, wants to rejoin his teammates on a day-to-day basis.
“Being on the DL makes you realize a lot of things aren’t going your way and makes me feel like I’m not a part of the team,” Holland said. “The struggles they’ve been having, I haven’t really been a part of it, but that’s why I want to get out there as much as I can. If we go down, I want to go down with them.”
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Holland said he respects the club’s decision to take his return slowly to avoid re-injuring his knee. But it’s been hard for him, he said.
“It’s been one of those things where I can’t sleep at night because [I] want to get out there,” Holland said. “Overall, it’s just been a frustrating experience being on the DL. I’ve never had something like this, something this long. In my mind, I’m ready to go. Their mindset and what they see is different than mine.
“I’m an athlete, I’m trying to get out there and play. They’re the trainers and they’re there to make sure I don’t do anything stupid to hurt myself, so I have to respect what they say.”
If he’s feeling good, Holland said the plan is for him to gradually increase his pitch count with outings every five days.
“We’ll see how it goes. My main focus is just to get out there and show them that I’m ready to go,” he said.
Since being promoted from Triple A Round Rock on July 7, Roman Mendez has given the bullpen a boost by retiring 30 of the 38 batters he has faced in 10 innings and not allowing a run.
The 25-year-old hasn’t shown any of the control issues that plagued him in the past. And he is throwing his mid-90s mph fastball, his slider and changeup for strikes on the biggest stage in baseball.
“I hope no one reminds him where he is,” manager Ron Washington joked about a situation that can intimidate many young players. “Just keep going out there and getting outs. He’s been throwing the ball well, using all his pitches.”
Williams in limbo
Washington was as clear as the Trinity River about pitcher Jerome Williams’ future with the team.
“Right now, if everything goes well … we’ll see,” Washington said. “He’s still here. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Such is the state of the Rangers’ rotation, which welcomes back Nick Martinez for his second start since returning from the disabled list Tuesday against the Yankees. Martinez joins Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis, Nick Tepesch and Miles Mikolas, who will go Sunday.
But, this year … who knows?
“He deserves another start,” Washington said of Williams. “Until that time comes, we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Williams, a veteran signed in June after his release from Houston, gave up one run on five hits in a spot start Friday. He walked none and struck out four in six innings.
Neftali Feliz was much happier talking about Friday’s save opportunity than his previous one and the events surrounding Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.
“I’m very happy to be back in the role,” said Feliz, who pitched around a self-made jam in the ninth inning Friday. “And I’m more happy because it was for a win for my team.”
Feliz will get more chances, since he is filling the role vacated by Joakim Soria’s trade to Detroit. He’ll have to do it a “different way” without the dominant fastball he once had, Washington said.
“There will be times he has to fight like he did [Friday,]” Washington said. “He’s done it before; he just has to do it in a different way. A lot of pitchers have done that.”