One Derek Holland goal: Better defense


SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Derek Holland likes to set goals.

He told ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Ben & Skin on Tuesday that his goal in 2012 is to be a 20-game winner. But beyond the wins and losses, ERA, strikeouts and other pitching numbers, Holland wants to be a better defender at his position. He's been out on the back fields with manager Ron Washington doing just that.

"It's very important," Holland said of his defense. "My goal is to get better every day. I saw some weaknesses from last year. One of the things is that I was told I was getting off the mound too slowly. I've been working with Wash. He said I'm not too slow. I'm faster than I was last year, something I worked on this offseason. I'm reacting quicker."

Holland said now his focus is being quick, but under control. Washington had him going through a drill that involved getting off the mound, reaching for a ball down the line and then throwing to first. Washington would tell Holland where the runner was, enabling him to decide how much time he had to throw the ball.

Washington stressed to Holland that he doesn't need any kind of big wind-up to throw from the first-base side to first base. If he was on the other side of the mound, throwing across the diamond, he might need a bigger wind-up. The skipper also wanted Holland to focus on tossing the ball inside the bag, that way if he made a mistake, it was possible the second baseman backing up the play or even the right fielder could help him.

"Derek wants it bad," Washington said. "He wants to be complete. That's the one thing we're trying to pride ourselves in Texas is being complete in everything we do. Derek is out there busting his butt working hard and he's starting to get better. We've got the whole spring to make sure we get him to where we want him, but he's not afraid of work and he wants to do it right."