Another year, another injury to the Texas Rangers’ pitching staff. On Monday, it was reported Derek Holland underwent knee surgery because of cartilage damage. It was clearly stated he doesn’t have any problems with his ACL or MCL, but he will miss the first half of the 2014 MLB season. Considering the Rangers are looking for Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison to both return this year, Texas can’t allow Holland’s absence to influence their timetable for the previous two pitchers’ returns.
The Rangers traded for Matt Garza before the 2013 MLB trade deadline in hopes that he would allow the team to contend for a World Series title despite the absence of Harrison and Lewis. When the team was still eliminated in a play-in game against the Tampa Bay Rays, everyone in Arlington immediately started planning for a re-loading of pitchers for 2014 to ensure the history doesn’t repeat itself. The problem is Holland was an implied part of the foundation of that plan.
So now Texas will enter 2014 with Yu Darvish, Alexi Ogando, Martin Perez, Nicholas Tepesch and Harrison as the starters with an additional player expected to be added for depth. That will hopefully allow Holland and Lewis to continue their rehabs slowly in order to be ready for the playoff stretch run. However, Harrison will now be expected to set the woods on fire from day one instead of being allowed to slowly work back into form during the season.
If all goes well, Ron Washington and Jon Daniels will make sure Lewis, Harrison and Holland all have plenty of time to fully recover before they’re thrust into critical roles in the rotation. The absence of the the latter two will also allow younger hurlers like Perez and Tepesch more time to develop on the mound in real game action, but the goal is for all the starters to be healthy by mid-August. Here’s to hoping more injuries don’t derail that plan.