PEORIA, Ariz. -- It has been almost a month since the Texas Rangers saw Derek Holland pitch in an 'A' game. With three starters seemingly in form for the regular season, manager Ron Washington wanted to see if his left-hander was ready to make that number four.
Holland showed a bit of everything we expect from him, a mix of a pitcher who can be dominating at times while giving up the long ball at others. He allowed two home runs Monday in the Rangers' 3-1 loss to the Padres but otherwise was sharp, allowing three runs on six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.
"I worked on all my pitches. That is the main thing," Holland said. "I was doing a better job getting ahead of hitters. I spent a lot of time talking to (Mike) Maddux and Nolan (Ryan), so all this stuff is coming together and helping me out.
"I feel good. I am definitely ready."
For Washington, this was his first chance to see Holland pitch in an 'A' game in person in a while. Holland was with Team USA at the World Baseball Classic for a couple of weeks and then pitched in a minor league game upon his return last week.
"He threw the ball well," Washington said. "Of the close to 80 pitches he threw, there were maybe three you would question. If he throws like this, he's going to keep us in a lot of ballgames."
The Rangers' position players who completed in the WBC have all said they think they will be better during the regular season because of it. Holland, who was the only Texas pitcher to play in the WBC, believes the same will hold true for him.
"The atmosphere, I ranked it just as high as the World Series," Holland said of the WBC. "|t definitely got me prepared for now, for the season. I definitely feel a step ahead of where I was last year."