Derek Holland pitches three strong innings

HOUSTON -- Left-handed starter Derek Holland pitched three solid innings Saturday night for Double-A Frisco against Tulsa in his third rehab start.

Holland, a projected No. 2 starter for the Texas Rangers, has missed the season while recovering from microfracture surgery to his left knee.

Holland gave up no runs on three hits with four strikeouts as he threw 49 pitches. He was scheduled to throw 60 pitches.

On Monday, Holland had a rough outing for Triple-A Round Rock in which he lasted just one inning, giving up four runs on four hits, including two home runs. Holland said his velocity was good but his control was lacking, something that would improve with more work. Holland noted that, after the outing in Round Rock, he threw a bullpen session and still struggled with his control.

"It felt really good," Holland said after that effort. "The big thing was being able to command my fastball a lot better. I got back into the [strike] zone. I've been struggling with it in the previous two outings. Still a little bit that I'm disappointed with fastball-wise, but overall the command was great, off-speed was good."

It didn’t appear he had any problems Saturday night as he gets closer to a potential call-up to the big club. The Rangers aren't worried about Holland at this early stage of his recovery because these rehab starts are almost like spring training games for him.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said Holland is getting better in terms of learning how to pitch.

"It takes a lot and Derek is not there yet," Washington said before the Rangers faced the Astros on Saturday. "We knew this was going to happen [and] he's going to have his hiccups."