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Holland Primed For First Opener

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Starting pitcher Derek Holland #45 of the Texas Rangers throws in first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on September 2, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

    We didn't get to see much of Derek Holland in 2014, as he didn't make his season debut until September when the Rangers were already on pace to lose more than 100 games in their disaster of a season that started with his freak knee injury in January.

    What we did see was pretty freaking awesome.

    Holland was 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in six appearances in September, including one out of the bullpen and was projected a solid No. 2 starter heading into 2015 behind Yu Darvish. Now, of course, Darvish is gone for the year and Holland is now expected to front the Rangers' rotation.

    On Friday, he'll start the Rangers' home opener against the Houston Astros — his first season opener or home opener to ever start in his career.

    Holland was a little behind schedule due some soreness in the spring, which is why Yovani Gallardo was tabbed as the Opening Day starter to give Holland a few extra days to prepare for his first start of the year. Now, he says, he's ready.

    "I feel great," Holland told ESPN. "I'm ready to go. It's go time. I did everything I needed to do in spring training. That's what it's for is to get yourself prepared and ready to go. Everybody gets caught up in all that stuff and there's no need. That's how we get things going. It's spring training. You're preparing for the season. I'm happy. I feel very confident with all my off-speed pitches. Definitely with myself. I know where my head's at. I'm ready to go."

    In order for the Rangers to have any success this year, Holland is going to have to have a huge year reminiscent of that month he put together last season, and we get our first glimpse of him on Friday.