The Texas Rangers road to reclaiming the AL West division crown developed a large pothole this week when the team learned left-handed starter Derek Holland had fallen at home and suffered a knee injury that could keep him sidelined through the first half of the season.
According to Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News, Holland suffered the injury on Tuesday. On Friday, he underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee and the early word from general manager Jon Daniels is that Holland "won't be ready for spring training or the beginning of the season." At this point, the Rangers are looking at a midseason timeline, which would suggest they expect him back at or around the all-star break.
As for the fall itself, exact details of how it occurred are not known, though Holland did offer the following comment in the team's press release.
“I am devastated by this injury. It was a freak accident at home that resulted in a hard fall on my knee. As upsetting as this is, my goal is to begin rehab and get back on the mound as quickly as possible.”
Holland, 27, was penciled in as the Rangers No. 2 starter behind Yu Darvish. He earned that position based on a strong 2013 campaign — where he posted a 3.42 ERA (120 ERA+) over 213 innings — and his overall consistency over five big league seasons.
His absence will be huge for a Rangers team that has a lot of talent in their starting rotation, but just as many question marks heading into spring training. Darvish and young left-hander Martin Perez will serve as the anchors, but they'll be forced to lean on Matt Harrison — who had made as many starts as he had back surgeries in 2013: 2 — and Alexi Ogando — who made three different trips to the disabled list last season.
The news led to immediate speculation that the Rangers may ramp up their efforts to sign Japanese free agent Masahiro Tanaka or one of the other remaining starters on the market, but Daniels suggested the team will instead look for help from within.
Jon Daniels indicates this will not make club move on ``big ticket' pitcher. (ITanaka.) Look for replacement from within, such as Ross.
— Gerry Fraley (@gfraley) January 10, 2014
As the days get closer to spring training and the Rangers get a better idea of what Holland's real timetable will be, it wouldn't be surprising to see them make a larger impact move. Only time will tell, but with the Seattle Mariners going all in this offseason and the Oakland A's still doing their thing, this is definitely not the way the Rangers wanted to ring in what will be a challenging year in the AL West.
- - - - - - -