Texas Rangers pitcher Derek Holland had what he described as a "freak accident" at his home and damaged the cartilage in his left knee. The left-hander had arthroscopic surgery in Arlington, Texas, on Friday to repair the torn cartilage, and the club expects him to be out until midseason.
"I'm devastated by this injury," Holland said in a statement released by the club. "It was a freak accident at home that resulted in a hard fall on my knee. As upsetting as this is, my goal is to begin rehab and get back on the mound as quickly as possible."
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Holland fell on the stairs in his home, causing the injury. It did not damage his ACL or MCL, and Daniels said Holland's long-term prognosis is good.
But it means that one of the pitchers the club was counting on in its rotation will not be around for, probably, the first half of the 2014 season.
Holland was likely the club's No. 2 starter entering spring training after the most consistent season of his career. He made 33 starts and was the only pitcher on the Rangers not to miss a start. His 213 innings were the most of his career, and he had a 3.42 ERA to go along with 189 strikeouts.
Now Holland won't get the chance to validate that 2013 campaign with a full one in 2014.
This makes finding more starting pitching depth even more important for the Rangers between now and spring training. Will it make them take a harder look at Japanese free agent Masahiro Tanaka, who has another two weeks to sign with a big league team?
"I expect we will add some [starting pitching], but I expect it will be more in the depth category than really replacing somebody at the front end of the rotation," Daniels said Friday. "This is an opportunity for a number of our guys."
That includes Robbie Ross, the left-hander who is being stretched out to start and has expressed an interest in the role. Nick Tepesch could be in the mix as well, among others. How well Colby Lewis responds from injuries could be another interesting storyline to watch. The Rangers probably will add even more names before they arrive in Surprise, Ariz., five weeks from now.
Holland signed a long-term extension in spring training of 2012 that makes him a Ranger until at least 2016. The club also has two option years after that.
Texas dealt with injuries to its starters in 2013 as Matt Harrison made just two starts before he was sidelined for the year with back problems and Lewis never did make it back to the big leagues and ended up having hip surgery.