He will be evaluated by the Rangers in a month. Then, he'll either be prescribed more rest or put on a throwing program.
General manager Jon Daniels said Holland's injury would not require surgery.
"I had to control myself and keep away from doing something stupid," Holland said of his reaction when informed of the diagnosis.
It became apparent pretty quickly that something was wrong with Holland because the lefty didn't have his usual velocity.
Of the nine pitches Holland threw, none was faster than 89 mph. Holland's fastball typically averages 93.2 mph, according to fangraphs.com.
He threw seven fastballs, a curveball and a slider, which Jed Lowrie hit for a homer to left on a 1-2 count. After the homer, catcher Robinson Chirinos and third baseman Adrian Beltre walked to the mound to check on him.
"I told them I was a little stiff but I was going to get through it. Just let me finish this guy," Holland said. "Pretty much as soon as it was over I was going to come in and say something."
Holland missed a portion of spring training with a similar issue, but the Rangers said this tightness occurred in a different area. The missed time in spring training is the primary reason Holland started the home opener as opposed to the season opener.
Leaving after one inning is especially disappointing for Holland, who missed most of last season after injuring his knee in the offseason, when he tripped over his dog and fell down the steps in his home. He had microfracture knee surgery and returned in September.
He made six starts, going 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA with 25 strikeouts and five walks in 37 innings.
"With what Derek went through last year, and how good he's looked this spring, it's disappointing, obviously," Daniels said. "His last tune-up -- I wasn't there, but the guys that were said he looked tremendous -- there was no indication or signs that anything was wrong."
Right fielder Shin-Soo Choo also left after the first inning with spasms in his upper back. He's day to day but is hopeful he can play Saturday. Left fielder Ryan Rua sprained his ankle and left after the top of the sixth inning. Rua was in a walking boot after the game, and Daniels said he expects Rua to be placed on the disabled list.