ST. PETERSBURG - SEPTEMBER 07: Pitcher Derek Holland #45 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on September 7, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
There's been a lot of talk recently about pitchers pitching in the World Baseball Classic and missing prep time with their MLB teams in spring training, and further risking injuries in an uncontrolled environment.
Texas Rangers starters Yu Darvish (Japan), Matt Harrison (USA) and Alexi Ogando (Dominican Republic) both declined invitations to pitch in the world tournament, which pretty much runs for half of March, with the championship game being played at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
But Rangers starter Derek Holland accepted an invite to play for Team USA in the tournament, which initially drew some ire from folks who feel Holland needs to focus more on the Rangers and trying to get back to where he was in the second half of 2011.
But Holland didn't make the decision without the blessing of the Rangers' front office, and it certainly helps that one of Team USA's pitching coaches is Greg Maddux, the Rangers' special assistant to the GM and the brother of Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux.
One difference between Holland and Darvish/Harrison is the innings they threw in 2012 as Holland spent about a month on the disabled list with arm fatigue and an intestinal virus.
Holland threw just 175 1/3 innings in 2012 — 16 less than Darvish and 28 fewer than Harrison.
"For me, I didn't get as many innings," Holland told MLB.com's Todd Wills. "But at the same time, I asked for everybody else's opinion, if it's OK. It is something I want to do, but I didn't want to go against the team on that. I wanted to make sure this was a decision that was going to benefit me, but also be good for the Rangers."