Derek Holland: 'It's been a long, hard sit'

ARLINGTON, Texas -- After a month without being on the mound in a Rangers uniform, Derek Holland will finally start for the Texas Rangers against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.

Holland was placed on the disabled list June 7 because of shoulder and elbow issues and an undisclosed illness that caused him to lose 15 pounds in two and a half weeks. His last start was a 6-3 win over the Oakland A's on June 5.

“I feel great," Holland said. "I have gotten most of the weight back. I’m not all the way up yet, but that’s kind of hard when you’re in this Texas heat. But everything feels good, the shoulder’s great, everything feels great.”

Holland has missed 27 games during his stay on the DL. He said that the rest will help keep him fresh through the end of the season, but sitting out was much harder than any part of the rehab.

"It’s been a long, hard sit of not doing anything and having to watch, that’s been the frustrating part for me," Holland said. "But at the same time, I’ve gotten myself prepared and I’m ready to go. I've watched video and I'm ready for Minnesota."

Holland went 0-2 in his two rehab starts with Triple-A Round Rock, posting a 6.00 ERA and six earned runs through nine innings pitched. He pitched five scoreless innings in his last start before allowing three home runs in the sixth.

Holland said he felt really good about his performance overall and got to improve his sinker considerably.

"I really am very pleased with the way I was able to work inside-outside and use all of my pitches for strikes," He said. "I feel like I did a good job of showing that except for one inning, but I was working on something at that time. I had really good command, I felt, with all my off-speed. So that’s huge. I feel like I'm ready to go. I feel strong."

Prior to his stay on the DL, Holland posted a 5-4 record with a 5.10 ERA in 11 starts. He tossed 59 strikeouts and 24 walks in 67 innings. He said that he still has some work to do before he is back on the same level as the rest of the rotation.

"I just need to go out there and go the distance," Holland said. "I don’t have as many innings as the other starters, so I need to get back up there. How I look at it is I want to be a starter and a closer: I want to start the game and I want to close it, too.”

Ron Washington said that Holland would have no pitch count in his return to the mound. Holland said that he is very proud of how well the Rangers have played in spite of how many injuries they've dealt with in a short period. He said he is excited to finally help the team and get back to where he was before his injuries.