In a piece of news that shouldn't be all that surprising in the context of this 2014 season, it appears that Derek Holland may have suffered some sort of setback in his progress toward heading out on a rehab assignment in order to try to pitch for the Rangers this season.
Saturday, while I was at the ballpark, I saw Calvin Watkins and and noticeably more muscular Holland chatting on the field about 90 minutes before first pitch. Shortly after, Watkins -- as well as many other beat writers -- tweeted out that Holland would be starting a rehab assignment by pitching 2 innings for AA Frisco on Wednesday.
The idea was for Holland to take fielding drills on Sunday, and either the same day, or on Monday, throw a bullpen session for the Texas staff. Assuming all went well, he would be sent for the assignment as planned on Wednesday.
That brings us to the present time, in which late Sunday evening, Gerry Fraley offered up some harrowing news on the results of Holland's fielding session earlier in the day. Among the things said, the one that caught my eye most was this:
Washington said Holland, recovering from offseason microfracture surgery on the left knee, was not smooth in his fielding work, and the organization needed to discuss his status before proceeding.
Now, there could of course be a conversation had in which the Rangers determine that the fielding will come with extra reps, and that Holland is simply rusty. This could amount to absolutely nothing. With that said, if the organization indeed decides that he's not ready to go out on a rehab assignment, it would almost certainly be a death blow to the chances of seeing Holland pitch for the Rangers this season.
Sure, this season isn't turning around, and with or without Derek Holland, that's a fact. Yet, there's a part of me that almost feels that Holland needs a few starts with the big club this season for his own peace of mind going into the offseason and heading into 2015 on a much stronger note than this 2014 campaign.
I've reached out to Gerry on Twitter to ask for some sort of clarification on the discussion Ron Washington speaks of, so if I hear anything, I'll be sure to post an update here. Until then, I'll be holding my breath that a guy the Rangers really need healthy and confident next season hasn't just experienced any sort of physical setback with his knee.