Derek Holland returns to the Rangers’ rotation Wednesday, his first start since the home opener on April 10 when he left after one inning with a left shoulder injury.
Holland’s subscapularis strain kept him out for most of the season a year after knee surgery limited his 2014 season to 37 innings in September.
The Rangers’ rotation now sets up like this beginning Tuesday: Chi Chi Gonzalez, Holland, Martin Perez, Colby Lewis, Yovani Gallardo and Cole Hamels.
“I’ve got this opportunity and I have to capitalize,” Holland said. “We’re in a tight race right now and these guys are playing hard and it’s my job to step in and continue that momentum and that mojo.”
Holland was excellent last September when he had a 1.46 ERA after returning from rehabbing his knee, which needed surgery after an off-season injury. The Rangers were in last place at this time in 2014. This time he returns with the Rangers in playoff contention.
“I want to keep that same intensity I had last year when I came up,” he said. “There’s no need to add any pressure. I get to be part of this team again. That was my main goal, to be here to help these guys to get where we want to be, in the playoffs and then to the World Series.”
Holland is likely to be on a pitch count his first couple starts back. Manager Jeff Banister said no one should expect to see Holland in mid-season form.
“This is essentially his first start of the year,” Banister said. “I wouldn’t expect to see all of Derek’s pitches as sharp as you’d see in the middle of the season.”
But having a pitcher who has been in the middle of playoff drives such as Holland is a boost for the clubhouse.
“One of the guys that has been a key component of this rotation before, I’m sure it has sent some ripples of excitement through the clubhouse,” Banister said.
Josh Hamilton did not start for the second consecutive game Monday to allow his sore left knee more time to rest. Hamilton said he was available to pinch-hit in Monday’s game. He got an injection last week for the knee.
“He’s still a little sore today so we’re going to be a little precautionary on that and let the knee calm down,” Banister said.
Jordan Spieth will throw out the ceremonial first pitch Tuesday night at Globe Life Park.
Spieth, the Masters and U.S. Open champion who tied for fourth at the British Open and was the runner-up Sunday at the PGA Championship, attended Dallas Jesuit High School. He is ranked the No. 1 golfer in the world. Spieth threw out the first pitch before a game on May 21, 2013 when he was 19 and ranked 169th.
▪ Right-hander Yu Darvish (Tommy John surgery) threw for the first time before Monday’s game. He made 25 throws from 45 feet. The Rangers reported he felt fine. He’ll be on a throwing program every Monday, Wednesday and Friday over the next few weeks, increasing the distance each time.
▪ Outfielder Leonys Martin will have his injured right hand looked at by a specialist on Tuesday. He’s on the disabled list with Triple A Round Rock.
▪ Outfielder Nomar Mazara has been promoted from Double A Frisco to Round Rock to fill in for Martin. Mazara was hitting .284 with 37 extra-base hits for Frisco.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760