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)
Derek Holland has been a bit of a mystery since he's been a starting pitcher for the Texas Rangers.
He's been highly touted as a guy with the stuff becoming of an ace, and it isn't far-fetched. He's a lefty. He throws in the mid 90s. He has a vast arsenal of pitches. He has everything you need to be an ace, really.
And while he's far from performed to an ace level so far in his career, he's shown flashes of brilliance, most notably the second half of the 2011 season when he led the AL shutouts and had the best pitching performance in Rangers history when he tossed 8 1/3 scoreless innings in Game 4 of the World Series.
He's also shown a propensity to love the camera and be a funny guy, famously doing impressions of both Harry Caray (well, an impression of Will Ferrell's impression of Harry Caray) and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also grew out a horrible mustache last season, which had to be a bit, and a terrible mullet, which had to be the same.
Now, apparently, he and the Rangers have agreed that the comedy act has to be toned down, and more focus needs to go toward the game.
"It's less of the interviews and those kinds of things," Holland told the Star-Telegram. "It's taking a different approach to it, just carrying myself a little bit better.
"I'm still going to be the same guy I was before, just with more of a serious approach, turning things down, keeping more of my focus on the field."
It should be added that Holland is known as being one of the more ferocious workers in the Rangers clubhouse, when it comes to the weight room and film study, so he's not a complete clown. But he's rubbed folks the wrong way at times, doing impressions in live interview dugouts during games in which he isn't pitching, and tweeting funny videos hours before big games.
Holland said he wants to put all doubt out of people's minds when it comes to his focus.
"I don't want people saying, 'Oh, that's why he's not pitching well because he out doing this,'" he said. "That's not what it comes down to. There's a lot of work that people don't see, and they want to judge on what they do see. It's upsetting."