It's been a long offseason for Texas Rangers starter Derek Holland — far too long, actually.
Holland tripped over his dog and fell down some stairs at his house back in January, forcing the Rangers lefty to undergo microfracture surgery before spring training even began and really got the ball rolling on this historically bad injury-plagued season for the Rangers.
He set a personal goal as a return date on June 1, which came and went. The team said all along he'd be back shortly after the all-star break, which has also come and gone. However, the Rangers and Holland have to feel good knowing now that he will take the mound in a professional game for the first time since last season when he starts a game in Frisco on Wednesday night, his first of a rehab assignment which should last anywhere from 4-5 starts.
"I'm excited and I've been waiting to get out there and play," Holland told reporters over the weekend. "That's been my big thing, just getting out there and being able to play and help the team. Being on the [disabled list] makes you realize a lot of things aren't going your way and it makes me feel like I'm not a part of the team. I know the struggles and everything they've been having and I haven't really been a part of it, and that's why I want to get out there as much as I can."
Holland eclipsed 200 innings in 2013 with a 3.42 ERA and was projected as the Rangers' No. 2 starter behind ace Yu Darvish. Now, with the Rangers' season being a wash, the team is just hoping to see Holland bounce back and perform well in what could be no more than five or six starts this season so they know what they have going into 2015.