Derek Holland Could Be in Line to Start Rangers Home Opener

Derek Holland could be in line to start the Texas Rangers' home opener April 10. The left-hander isn't expected to be ready for the season opener four nights earlier.

Holland, who missed most of last season after knee surgery, has been slowed this spring by left shoulder soreness. He threw a bullpen session Wednesday and remained behind the Rangers' other starters in arm strength and pitch count.

"I think it would be a push to say that Derek would be ready for games one, two or three," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We want to get him ready for his season whenever it starts for him."

With Holland out of the mix for the April 6 opener at Oakland and ace Yu Darvish expected to have Tommy John elbow ligament-replacement surgery next week, offseason addition Yovani Gallardo has emerged as the likely candidate to be the Rangers opening day starter.

"He has the most experience, he has done it before, the type of guy that he is," Banister said. "He is the guy, really, when you look at it, that if you were going to line them all up right now, he's made all his spring training starts and gotten his pitch count up there. He's definitely in the mix."

Gallardo, who started the last five season openers for Milwaukee, was acquired in a trade from the Brewers in January. The right-hander allowed one hit over four innings Wednesday in a `B' game against the Chicago White Sox facing mostly minor leaguers.

Holland hopes to make his first exhibition start Saturday. Banister did not rule out Holland starting the home opener.

"When he's ready and capable. If that's the home opener, he will pitch," Banister said. "That wouldn't be a bad thing for Derek Holland. I'm not announcing anything. Actually, I think it would be a good thing. To get an opportunity to start the home opener is kind of special."

Holland missed the first five months last season due to left knee surgery after tripping over his dog on the stairs of his home. He went 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in 37 innings over six appearances late in the season.

NOTES: RHP Tanner Scheppers had his scheduled spring training debut delayed Wednesday because of a right ankle sprain. Scheppers, back in the bullpen after a series of injures led to him being the 2014 opening day starter, was scratched from pitching an inning in that `B' game against the White Sox. ... Texas selected to the contract of OF Antoan Richardson from Triple-A Round Rock. Richardson was in camp on a minor league contract, but had an early escape clause. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the club wanted to take a longer look at the 31-year-old who hit .313 in 13 games last season with the New York Yankees. ... LHP Martin Perez, who is recovering from elbow ligament-replacement surgery last May, was put on the 60-day disabled list.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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